(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Baptist preacher [serial]"

North Carolina State Library 



THE LIBRARY OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF 
NORTH CAROLINA 
AT CHAPEL HILL 



THE COLLECTION OF 
NORTH CAROLINIANA 

PRESENTED BY 

State Library of NC 



C286 
B22p 
1846-47 



» 




THE 

BAPTIST PKEACHER. 



VOL, V, January, 1846, NO, 1, 



SPIRITUAL DECLENSION : 

A Sermon, by Rev. T. C. Teasdale, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 

" Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thu first 
love. — Rev. ii : 4. 

Brethren and friends — My text is the language of com- 
plaint. The faithful and true witness, who holds the seven 
stars in his right hand, and walks in the midst of the seven 
golden candlesticks, declares unto the angel of the church 
of Ephesus, " I have somewhat against thee." But what 
was the difficulty with the church of Ephesus? Was she 
indifferent to the encroachments of error and unrighteous- 
ness? Did she repose in inglorious ease amid the attempts 
of her enemies to tarnish her glory, and to corrupt her from 
the simplicity of the gospel ? Were her zeal for the truth, 
and her outward regard for the glory of God, essentially 
defective ? Let the Saviour's own eulogy upon many excel- 
lent characteristics, answer these enquiries : " I know thy 
works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst 
not bear them which are evil ; and thou hast tried them 
which say they are apostles and are not, and hast found 
them liars : and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my 
name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted." In all 
these respects the church of Ephesus was above reproach. 
But still there was something wrong with this church, or the 
Saviour would not have uttered such a complaint against 
her. What then was the difficulty? It is all explained in 
this : She was defective in true spirituality. She was lack- 
ing in ardent, devoted attachment to the Saviour. It was 
this alone that rendered her condition at once so alarming 
Vol. V.— 1. 



Spiritual Declension. 



and so guilty. It was this that called forth the Saviour's 
reproof in the language of the text: "I have somewhat 
against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." 

Freedom from open irregularities, does not render it cer- 
tain that the condition of a church is in all respects such as 
is required of it. Nor is the possession of various excellent 
characteristics, to be received as proof positive that it is 
exempt from all religious defection. Indeed all observation 
tends to convince us, that while there may be much in a 
church to call forth the admiration of christians, and the 
approbation of the Redeemer, there may be, at the same 
time, such radical deficiency in other important particulars, 
as to render it the proper object both of pity and reproof. 
A church, for instance, may be strictly orthodox in its theo- 
logical tenets, and yet by its indolence and stupidity, it may 
render the truth in which it glories, inert and powerless ; 
frustrate the salutary effects it was designed to accomplish ; 
and, from being a healthful fountain, sending forth through 
the channels of christian activity, a refreshing and sanctifying 
influence, may become a stagnant pool, rotting in its motion 
less repose, polluting the air with its noxious exhalations, and 
converting into a desolate morass the region it should fertil- 
ize and bless. A church may be very tenacious in its 
observance of the external forms of public devotion, and 
yet be as destitute of the spirit of true worshipers as 
mere automatons, which may be made to march up the 
aisles of the church at the appointed time ; rise and sit as 
the services proceed ; and perform with remarkable accuracy 
every outward act of religious devotion. 

In like manner, a church may be characterized by great 
union and harmony among its members, and yet these 
interesting characteristics may result alone from the want of 
vitality in the body politic. Its peace may be like that of 
the frozen lake, which no fury of the tempest can agitate, 
and which no commotion of the elements can disturb. It 
is the quiet of a spiritual death ; the union of frozen and 
conglomerated sensibilities. 

And again, a church may be very consistent in its out- 
ward deportment— and as to common morality, blameless ; 
and yet, in all this, it may but resemble the whited sepul- 
chre, which is beautiful and attractive without, but full of 
corruption and loathsomeness within. Indeed, whatever 



Spiritual Declension. 



excellencies may attach to the character of a church, if it be 
defective in true spirituality, it cannot enjoy the approbation 
of Jesus, nor reasonably hope for ultimate prosperity. For 
this is a deficiency which so directly affects the vitals of the 
system, that it is impossible it should long exist with impu- 
nity in any church. Be this, then, my morning theme — 
The causes, evils and remedies of spiritual de- 
clension. 

Of the importance of my theme, and its applicability to 
the times, no one who has reflected upon the subject, can 
entertain a douht. And if the Saviour was so much dis- 
pleased with the lack of spirituality in the church of Ephesus, 
possessing, as she did, so many excellent traits of christian 
character, what must be his feelings towards the churches of 
this land at the present time? What must be his feelings 
towards us, beloved ? How greatly should we suffer in com- 
parison with the primitive disciples. How faint our at- 
tachment to Christ, when compared with that of our 
own first love. O, " how is the gold become dim ! how 
is the most fine gold changed ! " Let us proceed, then, 
to consider with prayerful deliberation, 

I. Some op the causes of spiritual declension. 

Some there are who may be disposed to content them- 
selves with calling spiritual declension, one of the mysteries 
of Providence ; and without attempting to resolve it, may 
refer it to the sovereign pleasure of God. But, my brethren, 
I cannot regard it as thus incapable of solution. It is true 
that God is a sovereign, and manages the affairs of his vast 
universe after the counsel of his own will. But, then, the 
divine sovereignty, does not, and by the present constituted 
order of things, cannot impair human agency. God fc is a 
sovereign — but he is not a tyrant. Man is dependent — but 
he is not a machine. The truth is, God acts not without 
sufficient reason. If, therefore, one church enjoys his gra- 
cious visits rather than another — or if the same church is 
more largely blessed at one time than at another, there must 
be some reason for this difference, other than the mere sover- 
eignty of the Deity. To suppose otherwise, would be to 
make the ways of the Lord unequal, and to charge the 
Most High with consummate partiality. But God is not 
fickle — neither is he partial. He always waits to be 
gracious ; and whenever he can, consistently with his own 



4 



Spiritual Declension. 



wise plans, and with the best interests of the universe at 
large, bestow his needed favors upon any of his dependent 
creatures, he will most assuredly do it. But he will never 
depart from his wise design of doing the greatest good to the 
greatest number, in order to confer his needed benefits upon 
any given portion of his subjects. The causes, then, of 
spiritual declension have their origin with us — and are very 
properly matters of earnest concernment to the church of 
God. 

Let us, this morning, carefully consider some of the most 
obvious of these causes. 

1. The first which I shall mention, is, the manner in 
which we attend to the duty of prayer. It is here taken 
for granted, that every christian is in the habit of daily 
prayer. Indeed, inasmuch " as prayer is one of the ordinary 
means of our communion with God, much of the religious 
life must necessarily consist in the exeicise of it, either in 
public or in private — either vocal or mental." But the 
point, which in this connection, more particularly deserves 
attention, is the manner in which this duty should be per- 
formed. For "it may well be supposed, that our spiritual 
prosperity will bear some proportion to the degree of fervor 
and constancy with which this duty is attended to. All our 
spiritual life is derived from Christ, as that of the branch is 
derived from the vine ; and prayer is that by which we 
receive of his fullness, grace for grace. If, therefore, this 
duty is either restrained before God, or performed in a care- 
less, carnal manner, our souls must of course lose their spirit- 
uality." 

2. Another cause of spiritual declension, is, the want of a 
proper regard to the ivord of God. God has placed a very 
high estimate upon his holy word; and whenever christians 
are under the influence of a right spirit, they will, also, 
highly appreciate the word of God. It is not only a princi- 
pal means of consolation and support to the child of God, 
during his earthly pilgrimage, but it is also the great instru- 
ment of his sanctification. In it, " we behold, as in a glass, 
the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." It 
is a just remark of the venerable Fuller, that " in almost all 
the remarkable declensions in the church of God, a neglect 
of the scriptures has been at the root." 



Spiritual Declension. 



5 



3. Another cause of unfruitfulness is found in the fact, 
that sin is allowed to lie on the conscience unlamented. It 
certainly cannot require an elaborate argument to prove that 
sin, unlamented, is the bane of religious enjoyment, and of 
religious prosperity. It is, as one has justly observed, " like 
poison in the bones." Do you inquire how you may detect 
the indulgence of sin in the soul? I answer, when you 
find yourselves inclined to persist in known evil, you may 
rest assured that the errors of your course have not been 
sufficiently lamented. True repentance is always attended 
with a loathing of the wrongs committed ; and confession of 
sin, to prove itself sincere and ingenuous, must always be 
accompanied with a forsaking of our evil ways. This 
remark is intended to apply, not merely to a practical com- 
pliance with the dictates of sin ; but also to the very bias 
of the heart to evil. " If it be the mere dread of conse- 
quences, that restrains us from sin — such, I mean, as our 
reputation, or worldly interest, or fear of hell — and not the 
fear and love of God," we may be sure that our heart is not 
right in the sight of God; that we are, indeed, in circum- 
stances of imminent peril on this very point. " That man," 
says Dr. Owen, "who opposes nothing to the seduction of 
evil in his own heart, but fear of shame among men, or hell 
from God, is sufficiently resolved to do that evil, if there 
were no punishment attending it — which, in what it differs 
from living in the practice of sin, I know not." 

I cannot now stop to speak of all the evils which result 
from indulging sin in the heart. It weakens our christian 
graces — cuts off communion with God — impairs our influ- 
ence and usefulness — and in many respects gives satan the 
advantage over us. Happy for us, if we shall utterly cruci- 
fy all love of sin in our souls. 

4. Another cause of declension in spirituality, is, the 
irregularity of church members in their attendance upon 
the public means of grace. There is nothing redundant 
or unnecessary in that system of operations which God has 
instituted for the edification of his church, and the perfect- 
ing of the saints. All the appointments of Jehovah are 
wise and important; and among these, the duty of assem- 
bling ourselves together for public worship and mutual im- 
provement, occupies a very prominent place. It is made 
the solemn duty of the preacher to instruct his people ; to 



6 



Spiritual Declension. 



feed them with knowledge and with understanding; to 
warn, rebuke, exhort and entreat with all long-suffering and 
doctrine, that he may present every man perfect in Christ; 
and thus be enabled to give up his account at last, with joy 
and not with grief. But how are the people to be benefited 
by all this labor, and patience, and faithfulness on the part 
of the minister, unless they attend regularly upon his min- 
istrations. He may break the bread of life most abundant- 
ly, and supply full measures of " the sincere milk of the 
word, that they may grow thereby " — and yet on every hand 
he may hear the doleful exclamation, " O, my leanness! 
my leanness ! " The richest provision for our spiritual wants 
will avail us nothing, unless we come and partake of it. 

This inconstancy on the part of christian professors, in 
their attendance upon the public means of grace, exerts 
also, an unhappy influence upon the mind of the minister 
himself. It not only produces the chilling effect which 
vacant seats necessarily occasion, but it cripples all his ener- 
gies in the preparation of his discourses. He discovers that 
a particular kind of truth is necessary for certain classes of 
his hearers, and he addresses himself assiduously to the task 
of furnishing the required aliment for his famishing flock ; 
and after much labor, and prayer, and study, he consoles 
himself with the hope that he has at length, by the divine 
blessing, succeeded in adapting truth to the exigencies of his 
people. But judge of his disappointment and regret, when 
he comes to open the storehouse of knowledge, and pour 
out the fullness of the treasures of truth, to find that the 
very persons for whom this preparation was especially 
designed, and who above all others most deeply need it, are 
not present to enjoy it. With such difficulties in his way, 
how can the man of God prosecute his preparations for the 
pulpit with any degree of interest or energy? How can he 
know but that his best endeavors will be rendered unavail- 
ing by this instability of his people? The deplorable result 
of repeated failures of this kind, is, that the preacher is led 
to adopt a sort of generalization in the arrangement of his 
discourses, which very rarely fails to render his performance, 
in the end, prosy and unprofitable. And as each cannot 
in this way receive his portion of meat in due season, the 
most obvious leanness and barrenness will inevitably follow. 
5. Another cause of unfruitfulness, is, the incorrect 



Spiritual Declension. 



7 



notion which somehow so generally obtains, that spiritual 
declensions are unavoidable. How common it is to see 
professors of religion, after a season of delightful refreshing, 
yielding to a spirit of chilling despondency, and indulging 
the delusive impression that they must submit to a kind of 
resistless necessity, and sink down again into spiritual 
supineness. Thus they fold their hands in comparative 
inactivity, and seem patiently to wait till another heavenly 
breeze shall sweep over the plain, and fan into life and 
action their dormant energies. They look upon revival 
seasons as designed to be enjoyed only at long intervals, and 
then speedily to pass away, as though God were not always 
gracious, or were unwilling to hold continual communion 
with his friends. A most unhappy influence is thus, also, 
exerted upon the minds of newly converted souls. How 
often is the young convert taught to believe that the exsta- 
cies of his first love, are necessarily short-lived — and that the 
buoyancy of his new born hopes will soon disappear. He 
is taught to expect that his present all-absorbing regard for 
the glory of God, and his ardent compassion for the souls of 
his fellow men, will soon quietly abate, and that he cannot 
reasonably expect the uninterrupted favor of the Lord, or 
look for continual feasts of religious enjoyment. Now all 
this is calculated to quench the flame of christian engaged- 
ness, discourage religious effort, and lead to spiritual declen- 
sion. But, my brethren, allow me to enquire, what is there 
in the word of God — what is there in the experience of the 
faithful christian, to justify the conclusion, that constant 
religious enjoyment is impracticable? Is there any thing 
wanting in the character and perfections of Christ — in the 
influence of the Holy Spirit — in the operations of divine 
grace — in the faithfulness and love of the Father, to ensure 
the belief that constant advancement in all that purifies, 
ennobles and assimilates to the divine likeness, is the 
believer's privilege? Why then talk of unavoidable declen- 
sions? Why give place for a moment to the paralizing 
notion, that victory in this particular is impossible? Is it 
not clearly our privilege, our duty, to " grow in grace and in 
the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Are 
we not positively assured, that " the path of the just is as 
the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the 
perfect day ? * Does not the law of progress pervade alike 



8 



Spiritual Declension. 



the kingdom of nature and of grace ? Let us not then, for 
one moment, suppose that whatever pertains to peace and 
godliness in christian advancement, is interdicted to us. Let 
us rather imitate the example of the inspired apostle, who, 
foigetting the things that were behind, was constantly reach- 
ing forward to those that were before, and pressing towards 
the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ 
Jesus. 

6. Another cause of declension in spirituality, is found 
in the imperfect conceptions which many christians enter- 
tain of the standard of Bible holiness. Nothing short of 
entire devotedness, of unreserved consecration to the service 
of the Redeemer, will answer the high demands of the 
word of God. We are taught in the scriptures that " we 
are not our own ; " that we should be immolated to the 
world ; that no man should live to himself, and no man 
should die to himself; whether living or dying we should 
be the Lord's; and that we should go through the world, 
bearing the cross, and wearing the yoke of Jesus. " Holi- 
ness to the Lord," should be inscribed on every power we 
possess, and impressed on every talent committed to our 
trust. The principle of entire conseciation is forcibly 
expressed in these elegant lines of Watts : 

" All that I am, and all I have, 
Shall be forever thine ; 
What'er my duty bids me give, 
My cheerful hands resign. 

Yet if I might make some reserve, 
And duty did not call, 
I love my Lord with zeal so great, 
That I should give him all." 

There are many, it is to be feared, who repeat this heaven- 
born sentiment with their lips, whose hearts do not send back 
suitable responses. They sing with apparent interest and 
delight, 

" I love my Lord with zeal so great, 
That I should give him all ; " 

And yet while this holy sentiment is still trembling on their 
lips, and sounding in your ear, if you ask them to give a 



Spiritual Declension. 



9 



dollar to aid some benevolent object, or to perform some act 
of personal labor to promote the cause of truth, they will 
soon give you to understand that they have not a dollar to 
spare for the cause of benevolence, nor can they spend a day 
to promote the interests of Messiah's reign. The poetry 
of entire consecration with such persons, is one thing — but 
the practice of it, is quite another thing. 

There, is, we think, also, a prevailing tendency amongst 
some, to attempt to be satisfied with very meagre attainments 
in holiness, and to substitute the most imperfect models of 
christian devotedness, for the infallible standard which God 
has set up. They too frequently come under the apostle's 
rule of folly, by " comparing themselves among themselves, 
and measuring themselves by themselves." The conse- 
quence is, a constant depreciation in the standard of holiness, 
and a corresponding conformity to the spirit, and maxims, 
and fashions of the world. Oh ! is it any wonder that so 
many of us possess no more of the spirit and power of our 
divine religion? If we would be happy and useful, we 
must make Christ our example, and let the measure of his 
devotedness be the constant rule of our lives. 

7. Another cause of spiritual declension, originates in a 
love of novelty, and the indulgence of a spirit of vain curi- 
osity on the part of certain professors in our churches. 
Almost every new theory in religion, which the ingenuity of 
impostors, or the boldness of ignorant and aspiring interpre- 
ters may happen to introduce, is swallowed by this class 
with avidity. And the more marvellous and incredible the 
dogmas of the system, the greater appears to be their interest 
for the time, in its success and prosperity. The Athenians 
of old were scarcely greater devotees to novelty, than are 
these superficial professors in our churches. Instead of 
walking in the old beaten paths of truth, and safety, and 
peace, they are continually looking and wating for something 
new. The victims of the recent Miller fanaticism, and of 
the Mormon deception, are but fair exemplifications of this 
unfortunate propensity. Nor is a vain curiosity amongst 
christian professors, less to be dreaded. Everything that 
bears the semblance of mystery, or comes to us clothed with 
the veil of secrecy, possesses most bewitching enchantment, 
to these curious spirits. It is this vain curiosity that leads 
many a christian from his home in the church, to a place in 
Vol. V.— 2. 



10 



Spiritual Declension, 



an " Odd Fellows' Lodge ; " and thus, ere he is aware of 
it, he loses the solemn interest which he has been wont to 
feel in the devotions of the prayer meeting, amid the more 
captivating hilarities of these worldly associations. What 
communion hath light with darkness? And what fellow- 
ship hath he that believelh with an infidel. " Wherefore 
come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the 
Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive 
you, and will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons 
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 

8. Another cause of spiritual declension, is found in the 
part which christians allow themselves to take in the party 
politics of the cowitry. We are not of the number who 
suppose that christians have nothing to do with the affairs of 
government. They have high and sacred duties to perform 
to the state as well as to the church. But it is impossible, 
in these times, not to suffer the painful impression that in 
what are called politics ; in the choice of public officers, 
the discipline of parties, the measures and doings of public 
legislation ; our countrymen are becoming feai fully insensi- 
ble to all considerations of duty and obligation to God. In 
every other field of moral interest, in matters of temperance, 
in the religious observance of sabbaths, in the duties of 
humanity and public beneficence, the confidence of a gen- 
eral improvement is permitted us. And yet, in a remarka- 
ble contrast of degeneracy, we are made to see that politics 
are becoming every year more insensible to moral constraints 
and principles. Very little regard is had, in the nomination 
of candidates, to their qualifications, either in a moral or 
intellectual point of view, for the stations they are to occupy. 
The all-absorbing question is, who is the most available 
candidate ? Who will best subserve the interests of the 
party? If good men are nominated, it is by the special 
industry and good fortune of friends. If bad, they will 
often answer as well, and sometimes better. It is the party 
that is voted for, with most persons, not the men. Moral 
considerations have little or no weight, after the candidate is 
named. Duty and the fear of God must yield to party 
allegiance. Even christian men will deposit their vole for 
a man notoriously wicked or incompetent, and blush as little 
as the ink in which it is printed. The whole trial is more 
generally one of mere physical force, in which the masses 



Spiritual Declension. 



II 



are wielded as instruments of political adventure. How 
many of the voters, in ail parties, at any of our warmly con- 
tested elections, can you reasonably suppose to be governed 
by a conscious sense of duty to their country and obedience 
to God ? Many are compelled to make a martyr of their 
conscience, every time they go to the polls to vote. Even 
good men and christians, are suffering an allegiance to party 
rule, which effectually demolishes their personality under 
the claims of principle, learning quietly to approve, and 
passively to follow in whatsoever path their party leads. 
The fear of God has little influence. The impulse of 
political adventure bears down other and better impulses. 
Numbers and force are the instruments, success, the test of 
all public measures; and the amazing interests of our great 
country, if we do not retrace our steps, are soon to lie at the 
mercy of irresponsible will, instigated by a rapacity for office 
and power, which no constitutions or bonds of order can 
long restrain. Now, it is this blind devotion to party and 
party interests; this disregard of all suitable qualifications 
in the candidates who are proposed for our suffrage; this 
disposition to wink at immorality, and to separate politics 
from the law of God and the control of moral principle ; 
that constitutes the wrong of christians in the part which 
they take in the politics of their country. They, above all 
men, should aim at a pure and lofty patriotism; seek to 
subordinate all the interests of party to the public weal ; 
and decide all political measures on the principle of alle- 
giance to God. Did they act thus, the part which they 
might be called upon to take in political affairs, could be 
performed with clean hands, and they thus render valuable 
service to their country, and still preserve " a conscience void 
of offence towards God and towards all men." 

9. Another cause of spiritual declension, may be traced to 
the erroneous views which are sometimes entertained re- 
specting the office and duties of the gospel ministry. There 
are, most unquestionably, two extremes into which portions 
of the religious community have fallen touching this import- 
ant matter. The one is a disposition to make too much of 
this sacred office ; to invest the ministry with a dignity and 
an authority to which it is not entitled ; and to con tide to its 
dictation and control what strictly belongs to the church as a 
body. This is the case emphatically with the Papacy ; and 



\2 



Spiritual Declension. 



the same is true, to a very great extent, with all the forms of 
Episcopacy. The other extreme, and which, it must be 
acknowledged, is by far the more common in this country, 
is a disposition to depreciate this sacred office ; to divest the 
ministry of all dignity, and all authority; and instead of 
regarding the preacher as a bishop in the church, invested 
with certain important prerogatives by the King in Zion, to 
degrade him to the mere condition of a speaking brother, 
and to regard his services as important, mainly, because he 
happens to possess a better gift at declamation than the rest 
of his brethren. But these extremes are fraught with mani- 
fold evils to the cause of true religion, and ought to be most 
sedulously shunned by all who desire the permanent pros- 
perity of the Redeemer's kingdom. But as the latter of 
these extremes is alone applicable to those who deny the 
divine right of Episcopacy, and all the obnoxious forms of 
Romish hierarchy, it is with the evils of this extreme, that 
we, as a denomination, have more especially to do. Believe 
me, my brethren, the loose views which obtain in certain 
quarters in our own ranks, respecting the divine call to the 
work of the gospel ministry; the special qualifications of the 
Holy Ghost for this important undertaking ; the dignity and 
authority with which the scriptures everywhere clothe this 
sacred office; and the permanency of the pastoral relations 1 ; 
are to be regarded with suspicion and alarm. What shall 
we do without a divinely appointed ministry ? And what 
will the ministry be worth to us when it shall be divested of 
its legitimate authority, and the unrestricted exercise of its 
appropriate functions shall be denied to it? All scripture 
and all observation justify the conclusion, that the world can 
never be evangelized without a living, devoted ministry. 
"For how shall they believe in him of whom they have 
not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 
And how shall they preach except they be sent? " But I 
go further, and say, that even when the greatest light of the 
gospel has shone for years and for ages, and when the minds 
of the people are best stored with truth, and their shelves 
best stocked with divinity, and where you may find a Bible 
in every house, even there, the attempt to dispense with a 
divinely appointed ministry would be fearfully disastrous. 
If you should take from the churches of this city their pas- 
tors, demolish their pulpits, and close up their sanctuaries, 



Spiritual Declension. 



13 



the religion of Jesus Christ would die out among them in 
anolher generation. Did the time allow, I might explain 
the reason of such a result on philosophical principles. But 
it is enough for my present purpose, to know that the minis- 
try of the word is the grand instrumentality appointed by 
God for consummating the stupendous designs of his mili- 
tant kingdom, and subjugating an apostate mce to the reign 
of Immanuel. Whatsoever, therefore, tends to impair min- 
isterial influence, or to prevent the accomplishment of its 
scriptural designs, must be injurious to the interests of vital 
religion, and occasion inevitable declension in true spirit- 
uality. 

But one of the principal evils in this connection, and one 
to which our attention should be most carefully directed, is 
the too frequent changes of the pastoral relation. The 
instability of the pastoral relation, has become just matter 
of alarm and censure among the tried and stable friends of 
our system of church organization generally. Much has 
been written, and more has been said, of late, of the mani- 
fold evils, both to the ministry and to the churches, of this 
disposition to change. I cannot, of course, go largely into 
the discussion of this particular at present. But I am un- 
willing to pass it without entering my protest against so 
much instability in this sacred relation. I do not advocate 
the settlement of a minister for life, in all cases, nor would 
I undertake to say, that the opening of a wider field of 
operation, may not sometimes justify the minister's removal , 
And we know that his health, often, or that of his family, 
may absolutely require a change in his location. But I sin- 
cerely question, whether settlements for life, or the minister's 
uniform refusal to listen to louder calls, or to accept, invita- 
tions to wider fields of toil, would be fraught with half the 
evils of the present system of mutation. If it were under- 
stood that a minister must take a church as a man takes his 
wife, " for better or for worse," he would be very careful in 
forming this important connection. And if the churc'h 
could not put away a minister as easy as Moses could give 
a writing of divorcement to a Hebrew wife, they would be 
more particular in selecting their spiritual guide. And when 
once a union had been formed, under such circumstances, it 
would be the study of both parties to make it mutually hap- 
py and beneficial. A careful comparison of the condition of 



14 



Spiritual Declension. 



those churches where the pastoral relation is more perma- 
nent; where there is mutual affection, mutual forbearance, 
and mutual faithfulness, from year to year, and where 
neither pastor nor people are given to change ; with those 
whose habits are different in these respects, cannot fail to 
satisfy every impartial enquirer of the immense importance 
of greater stability in this sacred relation. So long as these 
holy ties are of so frail and slight a character as to be 
sundered by almost every wind that blows, there must be a 
lack of that deep-seated, mutual affection, between the pas- 
tor and his people, which is indispensable to permanent 
prosperity. The minister, on the one hand, will, in such a 
case, be strongly tempted to labor for immediate effect ; to 
cover up unwelcome truth ; to neglect wholesome discip- 
line ; to increase the number of members without suitable 
regard to their religious qualifications ; and, in various other 
ways, to court popular applause, at the expense of the per- 
manent well-being of the church. And the people, on the 
other hand, when they do not intend that the relation of 
their pastor to them shall be a permanent thing, will not 
give him their hearty co-operation, nor sustain him as they 
should by their sympathies and their prayers. They will 
not generally be anxious to throw much influence into his 
hands; thus the usefulness of both pastor and people is 
diminished, and the most manifest injury results to the 
cause of evangelical religion in the community. 

There are various other causes of spiritual declension 
which might be considered ; such, for instance, as inordinate 
love of the world; abundant temporal prosperity; neglect 
of spiritual gifts ; want of suitable attention to wholesome 
church discipline; and many others which time would fail 
me to enumerate. All these may contribute to a state of 
religious apathy ; to quench the fire upon our sacred altars ; 
to cause Bashan to mourn, and Carmel to languish ; and to 
wither and kill every thing that is greenest and loveliest in 
Zion. 

II. Having thus noticed some of the prominent causes of 
spiritual declension, let us now proceed to consider some of 

THE EVILS WHICH ATTEND SUCH A CONDITION. 

I. In the first place, I observe that this condition is one 
of great personal unhappiness. The light of God's coun- 
tenance is withdrawn ; the grace of the Spirit \>: withheld ; 



Spiritual Declension. 



15 



and the approving smiles of the Redeemer are no longer 
enjoyed. Listen to the doleful lamenia(ion of such a soul 
as he seriously contemplates his wretched condition : " O 
that 1 were as in months past; as in the days when God 
preserved me ; when his candle shined upon my head ; and 
when by his light I walked through darkness." All his 
evidences of adoption into the family of God, and his con- 
sequent heirship with the Lord Jesus to the incorruptible 
inheritance of heaven, are now faint and cheerless. There 
are no animating prospects to dispel his despondency ; no 
buoyant hopes of a glorious immortality, to mitigate the ills 
to which he is subject. The poet has well expressed his 
condition in these significant lines— 

!< But now I find an aching void, 
The world can never fill." 

His circumstances are indeed peculiar; he has professedly 
renounced the world with its vanities, and he cannot longer 
enjoy its evanescent pleasures; he would not again return 
to its beggarly elements; and yet he is painfully conscious, 
that for the matchless charms of religion, he has no proper 
relish ; that intimate communion with the uncreated Holy 
One, which, more than its enchanting scenery, the gentle 
murmurs of its forest trees, the soft ripling of its streams, and 
the sweet warbling of its feathered songsters, made the 
ancient Eden a very paradise, is to him now lost. He 
seems like a fruitless branch cast forth to be withered. How 
true it is, that " the backslider in heart is filled with his own 
ways." 

2. A state of religious declension renders every christian 
duty a burden. Even secret prayer, which in former times 
brought him so often into communion with the skies, and 
gave him such ecstatic delight, is now, if observed at all, a 
mere heartless ceremony, attended with little pleasure and 
little profit. That altar which once smoked with oft repeated 
sacrifices, is now either shamefully neglected, or freighted 
only with defective offerings. How languid the affections — , 
how cold the love of such a soul. Family religion, too, is 
allowed to decline. Formerly the domestic altar was faith- 
fully surrounded morning and evening. The fond father 
and the affectionate mother were seen laboring with one 



16 



Spiritual Declension. 



heart to bring up their children in the nurture and admoni- 
tion of the Lord. Now the family altar is not unfrequently 
neglected ; no morning and evening incense is seen going 
up to heaven from this prayerless habitation ; the duty of 
instructing and guiding the children and youth of the 
household is almost entirely omitted ; and that yearning of 
spirit for the salvation of their kindred according to the 
flesh, which pre-eminently distinguishes devoted and active 
christians, finds here no permanent abode. The social 
prayer-meeting, and the church conference, are rarely attend- 
ed by backslidden professors; and the idea of taking a pub- 
lic part in the exercises of such occasions, often fills them 
with unspeakable horror. But if the service is actually 
undertaken, there is generally apparent in the performance 
more of the " monotony of a moving machine, than of the 
buoyant elasticity of delighted life." Even the more pub- 
lic services of the sanctuary, possess but little interest in the 
estimation of such a person. How different are his views 
and feelings now, from what they were, when with the 
sweet singer of Israel he could say, " a day in thy courts is 
belter than a thousand ; " and " I had rather be a door- 
keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents 
of wickedness." If he attends upon the exercises of the 
sanctuary on the Lord's day, it is rather from the force of 
habit, or the fear of censure, than from any real delight 
which he experiences in the services themselves. He is 
often troubled with a u Sunday-sickness ; " and a moderate 
breeze, or a passing cloud, is quite sufficient, he thinks, to 
justify his absence from the house of God. He is utterly 
incapacitated for the duty of " converting sinners from the 
error of their w T ays." No man in such a condition can suc- 
cessfully engage in the work of winning souls to Christ. 
David was conscious of this when he prayed, "Restore 
unto me the joys of thy salvation, and uphold me by thy 
free spirit : then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and 
sinners shall be converted unto thee." In a word, every 
duty which the gospel enjoins upon him, becomes to such 
a person an unwelcome task ; and all he does is performed 
rather as the result ot' conscious obligation, than of any 
pleasure which he takes in obeying the commandments of 
the Lord. 

3. A state of spiritual declension precludes the idea of a 



Spiritual Declension. 



17 



persons entertaining adequate conceptions of the value of 
souls, or cherishing importunate desires for their eternal 
scdvation. How slight is the sympathy which is felt, in the 
estimate which God and all holy beings entertain of fallen 
sinners, and in their unceasing efforts to reclaim them. To 
a person sunk down in religious apathy, it would seem to be 
a matter almost of indifference, whether his fellow-sinners 
be saved or lost. God, the Father, may stoop from his high 
abode to devise a plan of human redemption, and open 
wide the door of hope to the guilty ; Christ, the Redeemer, 
may lay aside his robes of royalty, and come down to suffer 
the ignominious " death of the cross," and " bear our sins 
in his own body on the tree ; " the Holy Spirit may strive 
with the hearts of men, and woo them to be " reconciled to 
God ; " angels may watch the emotions of their minds, and 
wait to bear the news of their repentance to the skies; 
devoted ministers may deny themselves of ease and afflu- 
ence, and " count not their lives dear unto themselves, that 
they may testify the gospel of the grace of God ; " and yet 
this cold-hearted professor, this guilty backslider in the 
church, may fold up his hands and say, "a little more 
sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the 
hands to sleep." Death, judgment and eternity may be 
drawing on apace ; all their wonderful and sublime realities 
may be looming up to the eye of active christian faith ; the 
voice of God may be heard rolling down from the battle- 
ments of heaven, saying, " whatsoever thy hand findelh to 
do, do it with thy might; " " work while it is called to-day;" 
"why stand ye all the day idle?" and yet such is the 
apathy of this backslidden professor, that he remains urv 
moved amid all the calls of duty, and all the dangers which 
threaten to destroy his fellow- men. Nothing excites him ; 
nothing draws him out in self-denying labors to save the 
souls of his fellow-men from death. O God ! is this the 
conduct of a ransomed sinner? May a real christian 
become so cold ? May he sink down into spiritual apathy so 
profound? Can he have tasted the sweets of redeeming 
love, and yet be so indifferent to the happiness of others? 
Is it possible that he can believe the Bible, credit its ac- 
count of heaven, and its description of perdition, and not be 
more concerned? "Ye are the light of the world." . . . 
" Ye are the salt of the earth " says the Saviour. But 

Vol. v.— a 



18 



Spiritual Declension. 



who is enlightened by such a soul? Whom does he save 9 

4. This condition constitutes one of the principal stumb- 
ling-blocks in the icay of simiers. The christian is a 
spectacle to angels and to men. The eagle eye of a scruti- 
nizing, fault-finding world, is constantly upon him ; his 
deportment is most narrowly watched ; and whatsoever 
imperfection attaches to his religious character, is made an 
occasion of stumbling to them that are without ; he cannot 
walk abroad with the conscious dignity of a spiritual mind- 
ed man ; he cannot say to his impenitent neighbor, " come 
thou with us, and we will do thee good, for the Lord has 
spoken good concerning Israel ; " he has not the face to 
exhort and admonish others, while he is conscious of such 
delinquency himself; he fears the application of the ancient 
proverb — "physician heal thyself;" and the wicked are 
heard to say as they pass by him, " aha, aha, so we would 
have it ; " — " where is now thy God ? " 

5. A person who suffers long from spiritual apathy, is very 
apt to become a troublesome member in the church to which 
he belongs. Being himself destitute of those holy impulses 
which should ever prompt a child of grace in all his per- 
formances, he is quite too ready to attribute to others the 
influence of sinister motives, or to suspect them of being 
actuated by evil designs in all that they do. Men are very 
apt to judge others by themselves. If an individual is con- 
scious of being wrong himself, it is then very easy for him 
to persuade himself that every body else is out of the way. 
Jealousy, evil surmising and backbiting are no uncommon 
concomitants to a state of religious declension. If the 
individual thus affected, does not openly dishonor his pro- 
fession, he is often made the mere tool of the devil, to 
sow the seeds of discord in the church, and make disturb- 
ance amongst the brethren. But more generally, such 
a person loses all apparent interest in the welfare of the 
church; violates his covenant obligations; forsakes the 
sanctuary; and not unfrequently reduces the church to the 
necessity of instituting a course of labor with him, which 
terminates eventually, perhaps, in his exclusion from the 
body. 

6. A stale of spiritual declension is productive of injury 
to the caus3 of Chris 1 , because it offers no effectual resist- 
ance to the propagation of various fatal errors in the com- 



Spiritual Declension. 



19 



munity. While the husbandman slept, the tares were 
sown in the wheat. So while christians are sunk down in 
spiritual slumber, the enemy is busily employed in sowing 
the seeds of error. It is then that infidelity, deism, univer- 
salism and every other false and fatal system of religion, 
finds greatest favor with the people. These monstrous 
delusions are generally swept by the board, whenever 
christians awake from their lethargy, and Zion arrays herself 
in her beautiful garments. They cannot endure the light 
of true spiritual life. 

7. He who suffers from spiritual declension, will be worth 
comparatively little to the great objects of christian bene- 
volence which characterize the present remarkable age. 
God has put it into the hearts of his people to institute 
various plans of benevolence, for the purpose of spreading 
the gospel more rapidly through the world. Thus we have 
our missionary societies, for the purpose of spreading the 
truth by means of the living ministry ; our bible societies, 
for the general distribution of the sacred scriptures ; our 
tract and publication societies, for diffusing religious know- 
ledge by means of colporteurs and books ; our education 
societies, for training the rising ministry for greater usefulness 
in their high vocation; and various other philanthropic 
institutions, whose object is to meliorate the condition of our 
race, and give universal prevalence to the principles of 
righteousness and peace. All these great christian associ- 
ations of the day, should find a place in our benevolent 
regards. Like the various rivers that come out of Eden 
from a common source, none of which could be dried up 
without famishing some of the nations, these several institu- 
tions have their appropriate work to accomplish ; and none 
of them can be dispensed with, without essentially impair- 
ing the symmetry and efficiency of our entire system of 
benevolent operations. But to sustain these societies as 
they should be, and to give them all the efficiency of which 
they are capable, great efforts are necessary, and great 
sacrifices must be encountered. They must have the warm 
sympathies, the ardent prayers, the liberal contributions, 
and the devoted care of the friends of Zion. But from 
those who are sunk down in religious apathy, no such 
interest m their prosperity is to be expected. Their support, 
to a very great extent, must depend upon the uniform regard 



20 



Spiritual Declension. 



which is entertained for them, by those who daily pray, 
" thy kingdom come." And I submit whether it is not 
alone owing to the lack of spirituality in our churches, that 
our acting Board of Missions, have been compelled, more 
than once, to agitate the question of retrenchment in their 
operations, and to discuss the propriety of recalling some of 
the missionaries. If the graces of the Spirit were in vigor- 
ous exercise in our churches; if every christian did but 
realize that he is not his own, but that all he is, and all he 
has, are the purchase of redeeming blood, could there be 
any lack of support for our benevolent associations ? There 
is no Jack of ability to do all that is required in relation to 
these institutions. The only difficulty is a lack of devoted- 
ness to the cause of Christ; a want of true spirituality on 
the part of christian professors. Only give us enough of 
proper christian engagedness on the part of the members of 
our churches generally, and the treasuries of these respec- 
tive societies would soon overflow with the willing offerings 
of the people, and new channels of benevolence will be 
required to conduct through the world the benefactions of 
the people. 

8. And yet again. This condition lays the foundation 
for bitter regrets and doleful lamentation, in the hour of 
death. A fearful wo is denounced against those who are at 
ease in Zion ; and sooner or later it will certainly overtake 
the offender. He may pass along in comparative comfort 
through most of his journey below ; but when he comes to 
the Jordan of death, and is about to plunge into its dark, 
cold waters, it will not be strange if he should experience 
the sad effects of his culpable delinquency. How often do 
we hear the lamentations of the unfaithful in that trying 
scene. Instead of enjoying the sweet consciousness that 
their work is done, and well done, and that they are all 
" ready to be offered," when the time of their departure is 
at hand, they writhe with anguish at the thought, that so 
much which it was their duty to accomplish is left unper- 
formed. A world of neglected duties and broken vows, 
cries to heaven against them. Their works are all " unper- 
fected before God." Hear one of these dying professors 
exclaim — " O that I had better adorned my profession ! O 
that I had lived in stricter conformity to my Lord's com- 
mands ! O that I had been more entirely crucified to the 



Spiritual Declension. 



world ! O lhat I had been more devoted and zealous in my 
endeavors to win my children, and my friends to the 
Saviour! But alas ! it is now too late to redeem a mis-spent 
life! I am verily guilty ! O God, save me or I perish!" 
How unlike the faithful christian does he die. The devoted 
christian well may sing — in rapture sing — 

" O if my Lord would come and meet, 
My soul should stretch her wings in haste, 
Fly fearless through death's iron gate, 
Nor feel the terrors as she passed. 

Jesus can make a dying bed 
Feel soft as downy pillows are, 
While on his breast I lean my head, 
And breathe my life out sweetly there." 

III. Having thus considered some of the prominent 
causes and evils of spiritual declension, it now only remains 
that I should point out the remedies, and enforce the 

IMPORTANCE OF THEIR APPLICATION. 

The Saviour, in his direction to the church of Ephesus, 
has given us clear intimation that there are sovereign reme- 
dies for this deplorable condition. This is his prescription — 
" Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and 
repent, and do the first works" You perceive that the 
directions of Christ require an attention to three particulars. 

1. "Remember from lohence thou art fallen." Con- 
sideration is always the first step to amendment. Think*, 
then, of the sweetness of the time when first you felt a 
Saviour's pardoning blood — 

" Applied to cleanse your soul from guilt, 
And bring you home to God." 

Think of your delightful communion with the Father of 
your spirit, when, with inexpressible joy you were enabled 
to say, " though he was angry with me, his anger is turned 
away, and now he comforts me." Think of all your 
cheering prospects, your animating hopes, your ecstatic joys, 
when the candle of the Lord shone on your head. Think 
of your delight in religious duties, your love for the brother- 
hood, your anxiety for the salvation of sinners, and your 
ardent prayers for the universal extension of Christ's king- 
dom in the world. Think of all these, and then " remem- 



22 



Spiritual Declension. 



ber from whence thou art fallen" Contemplate seriously 
the striking contrast between your present wretched circum- 
stances, as a backslider, and your former happy state, when 
the benignant smiles of the Redeemer were so richly enjoy- 
ed; and let the painful spectacle humble you in the very 
dust. And, then, while thus oppressed with the gloomy 
perception of the sad change which has come over you, 
observe the next step which the Saviour has pointed out in 
the process of recovery. That is, 

2. "Repent." Exercise a godly sorrow for your sins, 
both of omission and commission. Open wide the flood 
gates of penitent regret, for all your guilty departures from 
the Lord, and all the insults offered to his grace and Spirit. 
Bring out every one of your transgressions as they are 
recorded on the long catalogue of human iniquities, and 
examine each of them in the light of the judgment day, 
and a boundless eternity. Nay, come with me to the cross 
of Calvary, and see the Son of God in tears, and agonies, 
and blood, terminating upon a gibbet his eventful life; and 
learn in every sigh that heaves his bosom, in every groan 
that escapes his lips, in every tear that courses down his 
cheeks, in every drop of his precious blood, the true desert 
of every transgression. How great the guilt to require such 
an expiation. How fearful the doom from which alone this 
sacred blood can deliver us. Hasten, then, to this won- 
drous cross, and throw yourself down beneath the droppings 
of this precious blood, and cry with the sinking Peter, 
" Lord, save or I perish," or with the penitent Publican, 
" God, be merciful to me a sinner." And having done 
this, you will be prepared for the final step in this work of 
reformation, which is, 

3. To "do the first works." Sitting at the feet of 
Jesus, and looking up through his streaming blood, with 
hope and peace, you will be ready to inquire with all the 
interest of a newly pardoned sinner, " Lord what wilt thou 
have me to do ? " And having learned your duty, you will 
be ready to perform it with ineffable delight. It will be 
more than your meat and your drink to do the will of your 
heavenly Father, and imitate the examples of your blessed 
Redeemer. Thus will you enjoy again the peace that pass- 
eth all understanding; your soul will expand with the 
renewed communications of the Saviour's love ; your life 



An Extract. 



will be crowned with hope and happiness ; your death will 
be serene and tranquil ; and your immortality will be infi- 
nitely glorious. 

Brethren and friends, the discussion is closed. In com- 
mitting this whole subject to your most candid consideration, 
allow me to express the earnest hope which I cherish, that 
you will not confound the amazing importance of my 
theme, with the manifold imperfections which have charac- 
terized its discussion. With inexpressible emotion, permit 
me to inquire, if the standard of piety amongst us, my 
brethren, is not entirely too low? Is not the measure of 
our devotedness to the cause of Christ, by far too small? 
Is it not evident that the Lord has departed from us? Are 
not the heavens shut up over our heads ? Which way then 
shall we turn? To whom shall we look? " Vain is the 
help of man." Shall we, then, fold our arms and say one 
to another, "there is no hope?" No, my brethren, this 
would be criminal unbelief. There is a power that can save 
us; that can " open the windows of heaven, and pour us 
out a blessing, till there shall not be room enough to receive 
it." While, therefore, the unthinking multitudes inquire at 
every corner of the streets, " who will show us any good?" 
let it be the humble petition of our hearts, " Lord lift thou 
up the light of thy countenance upon us." " Wilt thou 
not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?" 
" O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years ; in the 
midst of the years make known — in wrath remember mer- 
cy." " Lord spare thy people, and give not thy heritage to 
reproach." Let the time to favor Zion, yea the set time 
speedily come. " Take away all iniquity, and receive us 
graciously; so will we render thee the calves of our lips." 
tc Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." Amen and Amen. 



AN EXTRACT. 

Ministers are not enough in the habit of presenting the 
gospel to the minds of their hearers, as a cause fitted and 
designed to bring them to immediate repentance and sub- 
mission to God. In its nature and design, the gospel is 
such a cause. While it comes with the offer of pardon and 
life to lost men, its authoritative demand is, that they repent 
and accept the offer, and that they do it now. In this 
character it was uniformly presented by the apostles ; and 



24 



An Extract. 



thus urged, it wrought wonders in the heaits and lives of 
men. They met their hearers in the most free, unembar- 
rassed manner, just as if they intended and expected to per- 
suade them to become christians on the spot. In pressing 
home the claims of duty, they appeal not to have felt the 
least difficulty from any doctrinal views of the atonement, 
or of man's dependence, or of God's sovereignty and pur- 
poses. They addressed men as free moral agents, every 
way capacitated to hear and obey the voice of God : they 
addressed them as guilty, perishing sinners, standing in 
infinite need of the mercy offered them in the gospel; and 
having made known to them the way of salvation by 
Christ, they urged home the duty of an immediate accept- 
ance of him, as the only and all sufficient Saviour of lost men. 

In their manner of delivering God's message, we see no 
protracted process of using the means of grace pointed out; 
no analysis of difficulties to be gotten over; no philosophical 
explanation of the origin and nature of sin, or of the mode 
of the change effected in regeneration ; no allowance of any 
future time to repent, or of any delay of duty in the attitude 
of passively waiting God's time to give repentance. All 
was plain matter of fact, — direct summons to duty. And 
was it not this straight-forward, direct way of preaching the 
gospel, with the fixed design and earnest expectation of its 
being immediately and powerfully efficacious, which in 
primitive times produced such great and sudden results in 
the conviction and conversion of sinners? Repentance and 
faith are indeed preached at the present day, as duties of 
immediate obligation ; but frequently, it is believed, in con- 
nection with other statements which break the force of these 
duties, and quiet the conscience in sin : and instead of 
looking for effect in accordance with such preaching, nothing, 
perhaps, would strike the preacher himself with greater 
astonishment, than to see his hearers actually repenting, as 
did those of Peter, while he was yet announcing to them 
the message of God. The most he expects, even from his 
best efforts, is, that possibly some of his hearers may be 
induced to attend to the subject; or, to use a common illus- 
tration, that the seed sown may, perchance, spring up and 
bear fruit at some future day. The consequence is, that the 
gospel is in a great measure deprived of its power, and com- 
paratively few immediate effects are realized from its min- 
ist rations. — Christian Spectator. 



THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. — No. I. 



CALL TO THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.* 

The subject of our present address . . . may be thus 
stated : 

" What may be considered as constituting a scriptural call 
to the gospel ministry. The subject thus proposed, appears 
to us to have an important bearing on the well-being of our 
churches, and the prosperity of religion ; and to require, 
therefore, a proper view and a corresponding action. 

To form a just solution of this query, or, in other words, 
a correct view of this point, is indeed highly desirable ; inas- 
much as, from the nature of the case, an erroneous decision 
must be attended with injurious consequences. An igno- 
rant enthusiast, on the one hand, who pertinaciously adheres 
to his notion of a divine call, will endeavor to thrust him- 
self on the church and the world — confidently intruding 
where angels might tremble; while, on the other hand, an 
intelligent disciple, who is diffident of his call to the minis- 
try, will shrink from the undertaking — fearful of running 
before he is sent. Such will be the result, on the one hand 
and on the other, of a mistaken view of this matter : and 
this consideration furnishes a strong reason for endeavoring 
to ascertain the truth, as to the question now before us. 

The reality of a scriptural call — say, if you please, a 
divine call, to the gospel ministry, ought not to be questioned, 
merely because the idea may have been abused, or mistaken 
views formed on that point. It may be made satisfactorily 
to appear : nor is it necessary, nor indeed is it proper, in 
maintaining this point, to resort to that often misapplied pas- 
sage, Heb. v : 4, " No man taketh this honor unto himself, 



*This article, with which we commence our regular series on the 
christian ministry, or pastoral theology, was prepared by the Rev. Andrew 
Broaddus, as a Circular Letter for the Dover Association, in 1838. We 
believe, in publishing this excellent letter, and placing it at the head of our 
series of articles on the vastly important subject of the christian ministry, 
we shall be gratifying our brethren, and advancing the cause of the 
Redeemer. The letter is abridged, but nothing is left out that properly 
belongs to the subject indicated by the head of this article. Editors. 



Call to the Christian Ministry. 



but he that is called of God, as was Aaron : " — a passage 
which, (as the connection shows,) is referable, not to the 
gospel ministry, but solely to the high priesthood. The fact, 
that there is provision made by the King of Zion, for the 
sure perpetuation of his church on earth, and for the con- 
tinuance of the gospel ministry, goes to prove, as it necessa- 
rily involves, the reality of a call to this important work — 
in such a way as he, (the King himself,) has been pleased 
to adopt. What that way is, it will be our aim presently to 
ascertain, and lay before you. But first, notice this guar- 
antee of which we have spoken — this secuiity for the con- 
tinuance of the church and the ministry. Brief testimony 
may here suffice. 

Hearken then to the prophetic declaration, Dan. ii : 44, 
kC And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven 
set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed." And 
hearken to the assurance given by our Lord, in accordance 
with this prophecy, Matt., xvi : 18, " Upon this rock I will 
build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it." The purpose of grace here declared, looks 
forward through all time, to that glorious consummation, 
when " the mountain of the Lord's house shall be estab- 
lished in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the 
hills, and all nations shall flow unto it." The continuance 
of the church on earth, bespeaks, of course, the continuance 
of the ministration of the word ; and the testimony of Paul 
assures us of the provision which has been made for this 
purpose, from first to last. Ministers, both ordinary and 
extraordinary, are represented by the apostle as the gifts of 
the ascended Saviour : " He gave some, apostles ; and some, 
prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and 
teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the 
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Ephes. 
iv: 11,12. 

Aware of the peculiarity of the apostolic office, we do not 
pretend to ground our view of this matter on the vocation of 
the first twelve, which was the personal act of Christ, in his 
bodily presence on earth. We do not indeed perceive that 
it was in any such way, that the elders of the churches were 
appointed to their office in the days of the apostles. That 
the apostles, those prime ministers of the King, were invest- 
ed with authority to proclaim his word and to teach his 



Call to the Christian Ministry. 



will independent of church sanction, there can be no 
question. They had new facts to publish — new truths to 
unfold, and a new economy to establish ; and they were 
furnished with miraculous powers, to evince the truth of 
their mission, and to sustain their high pretensions. If, 
therefore, any person should now lay claim to a divine com- 
mission, infallible and independent of all human sanction, 
he will have no right to demand our credence, unless he 
can produce some token or evidence corresponding with 
that claim : — otherwise, (and we ask particular attention to 
this point, otherwise,) the church may be intruded on by 
every one who may take it into his head, that he is divine- 
ly commissioned to engage in the work of the ministry. 
Hitherto we have attended to it on the negative side only : 
we turn now to the positive, and repeat the query — f What 
may be considered as constituting a scriptural call to the 
gospel ministry ? " 

We here assume that the subject of this call is possessed 
of genuine piety — the basis of all other requisites in this 
case ; and we remark, that if we can ascertain what are the 
essential qualifications for the christian ministry, we shall 
arrive at a solution of the question : for he that is possessed 
of these, may be considered (as Mr. Fuller remarks,) to be 
called of God to exercise them. u As every man hath 
received the gift, even so minister the same," is the divine 
injunction, " as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 
Only let him take heed that " if he speak, it be according 
to the oracles of God." 1 Pet. iv : 10, 11. The question 
then assumes this form : What are these essential qualifica- 
tions, which constitute or evince a call to the gospel minis- 
try? We conceive them to consist of two sorts: Proper 
exercise of mind, and talents or gifts suited to the work. 

First — proper exercises of mind. 

There ought to be a desire for this work. The office of 
a bishop includes the work of teaching, and in regard to 
that office, Paul mentions & desire as being supposed to exist 
on the part of the individual: 1 Tim. iii : 1. Now it fol- 
lows, that an evangelist — -that any person engaging in the 
work of the ministry, should feel a desire to be so engaged. 
It is very probable that this desire may be, in a great measure, 
quenched, in the hearts of some who ought to have been 
encouraged, and to have taken courage, to come forth and 



4 



Call to the Christian Ministry. 



to go on. But still we say, there ought to be a desire for 
the work. It forms a first principle in the spring of action 
towards this employmeut. And we may add, that there 
ought to be a speciality in this desire, — an earnest longing 
to be thus engaged in the service of " the Captain of our 
salvation, " if so it might be. It follows — 

That this desire must be of the right sort. The same 
motives and feelings of heart which actuated an apostle, 
must actuate every minister of the gospel, for both engage 
in the common cause, and both serve the same Master. Let 
ns then take Paul for a model. Of the nature of his feel* 
ings and motives, he himself has fully informed us, and has 
certified the truth of his professions by his labors and his 
sufferings. Let him speak : " Christ shall be magnified in 
my body, whether it be by life or by death : " Phil, i : 20. 
" God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ : " Gal. vi : 20. " Brethren, my heart's 
desire and prayer to God for Israel, is, that they might be 
saved:" Rom. x: 1. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, 
we persuade men : " 2 Cor. v : 11. " For the love of 
Christ constraineth us:" ver. 14. "Therefore I endure 
all things for the elect's sake : " 2 Tim. ii : 10. " Night 
and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, 
and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith : " 
1 Thes. iii : 10. These quotations will suffice to exhibit 
the principles by which this man of God was influenced ; — 
to let us see that the glory of God — the honor of the 
Redeemer — the salvation of dying sinners, and the prosperity 
of the church, were the objects which inspired his zeal and 
governed his heart. Such were his principles; and to the 
influence of these principles it was owing, that he was 
enabled to say, with the prospect of " bonds and afflictions " 
before him — " None of these things move me, neither count 
I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course 
with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the 
Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." 



(Conclusion in next No.) 




THE vS 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL V. February, 1846. HO, 2. 



THE FRAILTY OF HUMAN LIFE ; 

A Sermon, * preached in Hampton, Va., Nov. 2, 1845, at the funeral of 
Miss Courtney Brough, who died Oct. 31, at the venerable age of CIV 
years and six months, by Rev. J. R. Scott. 

The days of our years are threescore years and ten ; and if by reason of 
strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow: for it is 
soon cut off, and we fly away. — Psalms xc : 10. 

It is an extraordinary occasion, my friends, that has called 
us together at this time, — an occasion, which, in itself, is 
more instructive than any sermon it can call forth. Such 
an event as this is of exceedingly rare Occurrence, and one 
which seems almost to stamp an air of falsehood on our 
very text. Those inspired words declare the limit of human 
life to be seventy years, with a bare possibility, in cases of 
uncommon vigor of constitution, that eighty may be reached. 
But we are now attending the funeral solemnities of one 
who was spared through the revolution of more than a cen- 
tury, and thus by more than twenty years exceeded the 
outer limit assigned by the sacred writer. 

There is no necessity, I presume, for any labored attempt 
on my part, to reconcile this seeming discrepancy between 
God in his providence and God in his word. The Psalmist 
was not ignorant of the fact that instances do occur of per- 



*The author's apology for the publication of this discourse, is, the extra- 
ordinary event which called it forth, and the desire which has been ex- 
pressed by a number of friends, that it should appear in print. He hopes 
it is a better feeling than vanity, which leads him to beg the indulgence of 
readers for a production on which circumstances admitted of his bestowing 
but a day's labor. 

Vol. V— 2. 



26 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



sons surviving the period of fourscore years; nor did the 
spirit of inspiration conceive of so futile a design as to delude 
men into an error in respect to the possible duration of 
human life. The text is descriptive of man's frailty; and 
what the Psalmist would be understood to say, is, that he 
who presumes on living beyond eighty years, presumes 
where the odds are all against him — where he has no ground 
for his expectation — where the common course of nature 
turns all the reasons in opposition to his presumption. So 
few are the cases in which persons live to a greater age than 
fourscore, that to speak of any age beyond, and especially of 
a century, would render a picture of human frailty untrue to 
the reality. To introduce into the description so rare an 
occurrence, would be doing like the artist, who, in painting a 
landscape, should distinctly bring out those minute and dis- 
tant objects which truth to nature requires be left out of the 
canvas. And yet, my friends, it is one of these very occur- 
rences, so exceedingly rare, that has brought us together this 
morning. We are witnesses of a scene, which many pass 
long lives without witnessing — the funeral of one who has 
survived a hundred years. Our departed friend was indeed 
spared to a great age — one hundred, four and a half years! 
In that time, how many, and how great events have trans- 
pired ! No less than five monarchs have sat upon the throne 
of England, one of them for sixty years ; and our own great 
nation has come into existence ! At the birth of Napoleon 
Bonaparte, the deceased was within a few months as old as 
your speaker. In her life-time, how many thousands have 
fallen on a thousand battle fields ! But, what is delighful to 
contemplate, how many great movements have been set on 
foot, and successfully carried out, to liberate, to elevate, and 
to save mankind ! 

Probably few, if any, in this congregation, have ever 
before been present on such an occasion. And what should 
be the effect on us? Should it be to diminish our sense of 
the shortness of life, seeing that the days of the deceased 
were so lengthened out? Should it be to increase our 
feeling of security, and to flatter us so with the notion that 
our lives may be long protracted, as to embolden us in put- 
ting off attention to the insuring of our souls' salvation? 
If such, dear hearers, is the use to w T hich we put this occa- 
sion, we most grossly pervert it. I conceive that this event, 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



27 



instead of weakening the force of those lessons so impres- 
sively taught us by our text, ought only to augment the force 
with which they should come home to our minds; and I 
pray God that what is so out of the common course in this 
dispensation of his providence, may only serve to imprint 
the more deeply in our minds both the ordinary lessons of 
mortality, and those particular lessons which are suggested 
by our text. 

Let me, then, proceed at once to direct your attention to 
the instruction of this passage. " The days of our years 
are threescore years and ten ; and if by reason of strength 
they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sor- 
row ; for they are soon cut off, and we fly away." 

I. From these words we learn, in the first place, that 
human life, however lengthened out, must come to an end. 
Our lives as compared with the lives of others, may be long, 
but impartial death will come to us at length. Mortality is 
our common lot. There is no discharge in this war. f His 
days," says Job, " are determined ; the number of his 
months are with thee ; thou hast appointed his bounds that 
he cannot pass." The days of our years may be threescore 
years and ten ; they may reach even to fourscore ; nay, they 
may, as in the case of our departed friend, be increased 
even very considerably beyond that; but the shaft of the 
insatiate archer cannot be escaped ; sooner or later, it will 
pierce us, and we must fall. 

But he is only the messenger of another. It is God who 
issues the decree. It is the author of life who is the arbiter 
of life's close. " Thou turnest man to destruction, and say- 
est, return, ye children of men." It is the same Being in 
whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath 
of all mankind, who taketh away their breath, so that they 
die, and return to the dust. And why is it that death is 
thus inevitable? The reason is suggested in the connection 
of our text. Says the Psalmist, "we are consumed by 
thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast 
set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of 
thy countenance." When we consider the goodness and 
the power of God in connection with the fact of our mor- 
tality, we cannot but feel that in some way our race has 
been subjected to his displeasure, and that this is the cause 
of our mortality. Such we find to be the case. It is 




28 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



because we are a corrupt and sinful race, that we are a 
dying race. We inherit depravity, and this has infused the 
poison into our veins which must issue in our dissolution. 
The sentence pronounced originally on our general father in 
Eden, was pronounced on him as the representative of his 
race— "dust thou art, and unto dust shait thou return. " 
That sentence continues in full force against all his posterity. 
* By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; 
so that death hath passed upon all men, because that all 
have sinned." It was part of the direful penalty of Adam's 
transgression, and probably no little aggravation of his own 
personal punishment, that he should transmit to the remotest 
generation of his descendants, a sinful, diseased and mortal 
constitution; that he should not merely die himself, but 
that all who should trace their origin to him should die. 

My hearers, it is not for us to arraign our Maker, and 
question the equity of this arrangement. That the princi- 
ple holds, not only in our relation to Adam, but in all the 
relations of life, is beyond dispute. It is one of the great 
principles of God's moral government. Our Sovereign has 
so ordered it that no one of us can sin, without others being 
more or less affected by the consequences. The child must 
feel the effects of his father's vicious excesses. He feels 
them in the diseased and debilitated body he has derived from 
his parent. The spendthrift head of a family not only 
brings penury and sorrow upon himself, but also teduces all 
who are dependent on him to want and wo by his prodigal- 
ity. And so throughout society. We may presume to 
question the justice of this arrangement as much as we 
please, but we cannot deny that it exists. God has so con- 
stituted us, and has so constituted society, that it must be 
so — it cannot be otherwise. But is there nothing to coun- 
terbalance this gloomy and mysterious part of his plan? It 
is true that we suffer from sins and vices not our own. Is 
it not equally true, that we derive benefits from good deeds 
and virtues not our own ? Does the child profit nothing 
from the excellencies of the parent? How many owe their 
fortune, and good name, and standing in society far more to 
others with whom they are, or have been connected, than to 
themselves. The jealous God who visits the iniquities of 
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth gene- 
ration of them that hate him, delights also to show mercy 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



29 



unto thousands of them that love him and keep his com- 
mandments. What claim have these latter to the blessings 
which fall to them? And what claim, we demand, has the 
child, on the score of equity, to be freed from the inconve- 
niences entailed on him by his father's vices, which does not 
prove also that he has no right to derive advantages from his 
father's virtues? Men do not complain of this arrangement 
so far as it affects them favorably ; but when it involves 
them in misery, they hesitate not to murmur, and accuse 
their righteous Sovereign of injustice; and this notwith- 
standing the plan is so admirably adapted at once to restrain 
men from wickedness, and excite them to the highest moral 
excellence. 

And has God revealed nothing in his plan, as an offset to 
the unhappiness of our condition in consequence of our 
relation to Adam ? Yes, dear hearers, there is not only a 
first Adam, in whom we fell, but there is also a second 
Adam, in whom we may be restored. A glorious provision 
has been made for our redemption. As in Adam we have 
death, so in Jesus Christ we may have life, and life eternal. 
The original sentence must indeed be inflicted on our 
bodies; but if we believe in Jesus, the day is coming when 
both soul and body shall be gloriously wrested from the 
hand of the destroyer. Hear the voice of death's con- 
queror: <( 1 am the resurrection and the life: he that 
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; 
and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die." 
Hear an apostle : "If by one man's offence, death reigned 
by one ; much more they that receive abundance of grace 
and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, 
Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offence of one, judg- 
ment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the 
righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto 
justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many 
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many 
be made righteous." 

Here, my friends, you see the offset to the unhappy con- 
sequences of Adam's fall, which accrue to us. So far as 
original sin is concerned, the second Adam has doubtless 
cancelled the guilt of that, and removed from us its retribu- 
tion in eternity. And so far as our own actual personal sins 
are concerned, he stands ready to take those upon himself, 



30 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



and secure our perfect justification, if we will but believe in 
him, and thus accept the proffer of his grace. " There is 
therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ 
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." 
Having by faith laid hold of this precious provision, we may 
triumphantly exclaim, "who shall lay anything to the 
charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is 
he that condemned!? It is Christ that died, yea rather, who 
is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who 
also maketh intercession for us." By this arrangement, we 
are placed under conditions even more favorable for securing 
eternal life, than those under which Adam was originally 
placed in Eden. So, should we persist in neglecting so 
great salvation, just indeed will Jehovah be seen to be, not 
merely in rendering it impossible for us to escape the 
natural death, which is the lot of all, but that second death 
also which he has denounced against all obstinate unbe- 
lievers. 

" There is a death whose pang 

Outlasts the fleeting breath ; 
O, what eternal horrors hang 

Around the second death ! 

Lord God of truth and grace, 

Teach us that death to shun, 
Lest we be banished from thy face, 

And evermore undone." 

I have thus stated, as fully and clearly as my limits allow, 
the facts and principles pertaining to the first lesson of our 
text — that our lives, however lengthened out, must come to 
an end. Much more might be said, but I am compelled to 
pass on. 

II. The text teaches us, in the second place, that human 
life, at longest, is very short. When the Psalmist speaks of 
threescore years and ten, and fourscore, he speaks of this 
advanced age very differently from most men. We do not 
hear him exclaiming, how astonishingly long do some 
people live ! To what a wonderful extent the lives of many 
are drawn out ! No, no, he does not say this. He would 
bring up vividly before our minds how frail and transitory is 
that earthly sojourn which can be protracted no longer. 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



31 



" It is soon cut off, and we fly away." What a span is that 
existence whose longest duration is embraced within such 
narrow limits. The simple reading of the text is enough 
to show that this is the idea intended. 

But it is necessary for us to observe the connection in 
which this passage stands, in Older to understand clearly the 
light in which the brevity of man's life was presented to the 
mind of the inspired penman. It was in contemplating the 
eternity of God's existence, that man's appeared to him so 
short. " Before the mountains were brought foith, or ever 
thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from ever- 
lasting to everlasting thou art God." He was thinking of 
God as " the high and holy One, who inhabiteth eternity," 
whose " name is from everlasting," whose " years are 
throughout all generations," in whose sight c£ a thousand 
years are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in 
the night." Ah ! he cries, what a contrast between the ex- 
istence of the infinite Jehovah, and that of the worm upon 
his footstool! It is thought little short of a miracle that a 
man should still be able to totter about under the burden of 
fourscore years — but what a nothing is this, when brought 
into comparison with the eternity of Him who has " been 
our dwelling place in all generations." 

This, my hearers, is the most impressive view that can 
possibly be taken of the shortness of human life; and when, 
in this light, the question is asked, " What is your life?" 
what other answer can be given save that which inspiration 
has itself returned — " it is even a vapor that appeareth for a 
little time, and then vanisheth away." In this view, even 
the age of Methuselah, nine hundred sixty and nine years, 
appears short. How much more the space within which the 
longest life at the present day is contracted. In how many 
ways might we compare our stay on earth, and it would 
seem short. Man's days are few when compared with the 
duration of his own works even. There is hardly anything 
he makes which does not outlive him. But what are finite 
things in comparison with the infinite ? They can all be 
traced back to a beginning; and as far as this world is con- 
cerned, we can set a time in futurity, and say they shall 
then be known no more. How different is it with God. 
The mind may stretch back into the dim past, before the 
first stone of the pyramids was laid ; it may reach back to a 



32 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



time when the names of Rome, and Greece, and Egypt, and 
Assyria, had never been uttered ; nay, to that time when the 
earth itself " was without form and void ; " but an eternity 
still stretches out back of all this, and the mind staggers and 
halts in its attempt to reach a period when God was not ; 
and glancing forward, it finds him still, " the living God, 
and steadfast forever." It was this contrast that impressed 
the mind of the Psalmist so powei fully with a sense of the 
shortness and frailty of human life. 

Our stay on earth being, at longest, so brief, what, my 
dear hearers, is the inevitable inference? Is it not, that our 
Maker created us for something more than earth ? Is it not, 
that whatsoever our hand findeth to do in the accomplish- 
ment of life's great, end, we should do it with ail our might? 
How often have you been told that you were sent into this 
world to prepare for another. Short as life is, it is long 
enough for its design. If perverted — if not put to that use 
which God requires, a short life is too long ; for every added 
day is only augmenting the fearful weight of that wrath 
which we are treasuring up against the day of wrath, and 
the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Already, 
sinner, art thou involved in guilt and condemnation. The 
thunders of Sinai are out against you, and except you 
repent, you must certainly perish. I point you to Calvary ! 
— behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the 
world! There, there is your only refuge; hasten for your 
life ! To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your 
heart. As an ambassador for Christ, as though God did 
beseech you by me, I pray you in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled to God. 

III. There is one lesson more suggested by the text. I 
accordingly remark, we are taught in the third place, that 
what is added to the ordinary duration of human life, is, 
after all, what is little to be desired. If, by reason of 
strength, our years be fourscore, " yet," says the Psalmist, 
" is their strength labor and sorrow." That is, what is added 
to life to make it of extraordinary length, embraces in it but 
little of enjoyment. The extending of our years beyond 
the period of health and vigor, so far from increasing, can 
only lessen the balance of our happiness. Of course, the 
solace of those religious comforts with which we sometimes 
see old age rendered serene and happy, are here to be 



The Frailty of Human Life. 33 

thrown out of the question. So far as this world goes, it is 
certain that extreme old age brings with it a crowd of in- 
firmities, inconveniencies and distresses, which far overbal- 
ance all the pleasures that can attend it. How striking are 
the Psalmist's words : " Yet is their strength labor and sor- 
row." Even that vigor of constitution which protracts life 
beyond the ordinary limits, serves only to lengthen it out 
for the experience of weariness and pain. And is not this 
true? The days of life's decline are at best dying days. 
The vital current is fast ebbing away. The senses are 
blunted, if not destroyed — the channels of pleasure are dry — 
the body is crippled and infirm — the mental faculties have 
sunk into the imbecility of second childhood — the friends 
and associates of former years have all gone down to the 
grave. The subject of all this — and of how much more! — 
asks, "where is the world into which I was born?" He 
feels that he is a mere fragment cast up from the wreck of a 
by-gone generation — a mere dependent and burdensome 
thing, incapacitated alike to add to the happiness of others, 
or to enjoy happiness himself. If this be true, surely the 
fact that some, here and there one, survive to an extraordi- 
nary age, does not at all throw light over the lamentable 
picture of human frailty ; it rather deepens and darkens the 
gloomy colors ; but, above all, affords a still stronger argu- 
ment for the importance of religion. If it is possible that 
before our departure from earth, we may be called to linger 
through a period, in which, if we have not the comforts of 
religion to cheer us, we shall be bereft of all solace, surely 
that period should be provided for. Be assured, my dear 
friends, both you who are young, and you who are in mid- 
dle age, the only effectual preparation for old age is the pre- 
paration for eternity. But here I find in God's own word 
an exhortation so much better than any 1 can frame, that I 
choose to address that to you : " Remember now thy Crea- 
tor in the days of thy youth" — why? mark what follows; 
how direct it is to the point : " while the evil days come not, 
nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, / have no 
pleasure in them,; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, 
or the stars be not darkened ; nor the clouds return after the 
rain : in the day when the keepers of the house shall trem- 
ble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the 
Vol. 



34 The Frailty of Human Life. 

grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out 
of the windows be darkened." 

This exhortation is couched in highly figurative language, 
but its general drift, I presume, is sufficiently obvious. The 
infirmities and maladies of old age are graphically depicted, 
and this for the purpose of showing the importance of re- 
membering our Creator in the days of our youth. Yes, my 
friends, it is true that duty and interest imperatively demand 
that in early life we give our hearts to God. He who puts 
off this business to old age, or at all to the future, puts it off 
to a period he may never, he probably will never see ; and 
he who shall reach old age will find that he has postponed 
the matter to a time the most unfavorable of all his life. 
We cannot doubt that some have cried to God in the eleventh 
hour, and he has heard and saved them ; but such cases fall 
little short of miracles. So infrequent are they, as to evince 
the folly and presumption of drawing encouragement from 
them to delay preparing for eternity. Besides, how difficult 
it is for an aged person to arouse himself, recal his wander- 
ing, bewildered, absent powers, and bring them to bear con- 
nectedly and energetically on any subject. Who shall 
attempt to kindle emotion in that bosom, bound up in the 
frosts of so many years of worldliness and sin? Who shall 
attempt to turn that current, whose volume has been swollen 
and force augmented by the contributions of so long a 
period ? Who shall presume to hope, after resisting so long 
a series of warnings and invitations, expostulations and 
entreaties, that, when the cup of life is drained to the dregs, 
Jehovah will then hear his call and be merciful to him? 1 
do not say that it will not be so, but I do say, that it is pre- 
sumption to expect it. And moreover, I declare, there is not 
one probability in a thousand, that under such circumstances 
there will be either the disposition or the energy of will to 
utter such a cry for mercy. Listen then now to your 
Maker's voice, and regard it — " I love them that love me, 
and they that seek me early shall find me." 

I have thus, my hearers, endeavored to lay before you the 
lessons which I conceive are taught us by our text. We 
have seen that our life on earth, however lengthened out, 
must come to an end ; that at the longest, it is but short ; 
and that what is added to make up extraordinary old age is, 
after all, on addition of little that is to be desired. I have 



The Frailty of Human Life. 



35 



also endeavored, as I have proceeded, to apply and urge 
home on you these truths for your individual improvement. 
1 have addressed this subject to you, because I could think 
of none more suitable to the occasion. I doubt not that if 
our aged and highly respected friend, whose decease has 
called forth this sermon, could return to earth, she would 
bear her testimony to the truth and the importance of every 
sentiment that has been advanced. 

We trust that after so long a delay on the shores of time, 
our friend has been welcomed to a better world. For a very 
considerable time before her decease, and before the prospect 
of speedy departure, she was accustomed frequently and 
with the utmost fervor, to offer up prayer to God. Her situ- 
ation has not admitted of my having many conversations 
with her, which, in themselves, could afford much satisfac- 
tion, although in one I was struck with the simplicity and 
evident sincerity with which she acknowledged the good- 
ness of God in sparing her life, and bestowing on her so 
many blessings through so long a series of years. That, 
notwithstanding her eccentricities and the abruptness of her 
address, she possessed one of the kindest of hearts, all who 
knew her will bear witness. In the relationships of this 
life, I am confident not one can be found who will deny 
that she was an affectionate relative, an indulgent mistress, 
a most excellent neighbor, and an ardent friend. We leave 
her in the hands of the merciful God, satisfied that the 
Judge of all the earth will do right, and hoping, through 
the Redeemer's blood, to meet her one day in the bright and 
blissful presence of our Heavenly Father. 

May all those who are left behind to mourn her loss, be 
comforted under this bereavement, and find their affliction 
sanctified to them for their spiritual and everlasting good. 
Especially, may our beloved sister, herself in the decline of 
life, and encompassed with the infirmities of age, be sus- 
tained and blessed in this trying season. May her last days 
be her best clays ; and when it shall please God to remove 
her hence, may she be gathered, like a shock of corn fully 
ripe in its season, into the garner of her Lord. 

And may God, of his infinite mercy, enable each one of 
us to heed the admonitions both of his providence and of his 
word. May he so teach us all to number our days, that we 
shall apply our hearts unto wisdom. Amen. 



USEFULNESS OF MINISTERS. 



It would greatly enlarge the usefulness of ministers, were 
they to pay an increased attention to the preparation of their 
sermons. Every minister ought to take care, that his plans 
be lucid and judicious, and that his sermons be rich in matter 
and in illustration, powerful in argument, and overpowering 
in conviction and persuasion. It is not for us to determine, 
whether discourses shall be written or unwritten; but this we 
insist on, — they should be well prepared. 

When we say, that sermons should be well prepared, we 
mean, that the subjects should be well chosen, the topics 
naturally and clearly arranged, the whole full of thought, 
glowing with intenseness of interest, shining with truth, and 
full of persuasion, which will melt and move the soul. We 
mean that such language should be used, as will constitute 
acceptable words; language far removed from the coarse, the 
low, or the vulgar ; language which shall accord with the 
seriousness and majesty of the message of the gospel, and 
"well become the messenger of God to guilty men." In a 
word, every sermon ought to be a good sermon, well adapt- 
ed to compass the great end of preaching. We would by 
no means have a minister neglect any of the duties which 
belong to his office ; but we would say, " these ought ye to 
have done, but not to leave the other undone." 

Ought not every minister to aim at all this? And might 
not every one who is called and qualified to preach the gos- 
pel, attain to it? But we fear there are multitudes of min- 
isters, who do not even aim to have their sermons well 
prepared, nor their thoughts clothed in acceptable words. 
But these are not the men to hold an influence with persons 
of taste and learning. They may have influence for a time, 
and do good in some spheres, no doubt ; but there are per- 
sons in every community whom the mediocrity of their ser- 
mons prevents their reaching. Sermons prepared as we have 
been endeavoring to urge, will cost time and labor, will cost 
close and continuous thinking, will cost fervent prayer and 
earnest wrestling with God. But what man of God, who 
ministers at the christian altar, can satisfy his conscience, or 
his desire for the approbation of God and good men, with 
any thing less than this? — Christian Review. 



THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. — No. II. 



CALL TO THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. 

(Concluded.) 

While we insist, however, on the exercise of principles 
such as these, we do not say that the pious and conscientious 
minister of Christ is exempt from feelings of quite another 
sort; — feelings which too often arise from his own nature, 
and mingle their muddy streams with the pure fountain of 
holy and heavenly motives. " This is a lamentation, and 
shall be for a lamentation : " but it is of the prevailing prin- 
ciples that we have been speaking : these govern the course 
and stamp the character of the man. Nor do we pretend, 
in holding forth the apostle Paul as the model, that we can 
present you with a race of ministers, (or even with one,) 
who can vie with him in that aident and unabating zeal — 
that noble, self-sacrificing spirit, which marked his shining 
career. But this we say, that the minister who is scriptural- 
ly called will be found a participant of the same spirit — will 
aim for the same path, and will follow, though at humble 
distance, in his footsteps. We may mention here, what 
indeed has been implied in our remarks, the necessity of an 
ardent thirst for an increasing knowledge of holy truth — for 
a right understanding of the mind of the Spirit, as revealed 
in the volume of inspiration. 

But this desire to be personally engaged in (he work of 
the ministry, and characterized, though it may be, by right 
principles, is subject, as we have before remarked, to be 
checked, where it ought to have free exercise and be put 
into operation. Such an effect may arise from an apprehen- 
sion of difficulties to be encountered and work to be per- 
formed, to which there may be a distressing sense of insuffi- 
ciency. In such, a case it is no wonder that there should 
be a shrinking from the task, even where there is an earnest 
zeal of the right character, and an earnest wish to lend a 
helping hand in carrying on the work of the Lord. Now, 
in counteraction to this shrinking disposition, a strong im- 
pression may take place, which ought not to be slighted ; 



6 



Call to the Christian Ministry, 



an impression consisting in a persuasion of duty, duty to go 
forward, through all difficulties, in the public service of the 
great Master. This impression then — this conflict between 
an apprehension of insurmountable difficulties on the one 
hand, and a sense of duty on the other, may constitute 
another element in a scriptural call to the work of the min- 
istry. 

We have now, brethren, presented to your notice what 
we consider to be one species of qualifications, appertaining 
to a call to the gospel ministry. They regard, as we have 
seen , the exercises of the mind. But these exercises, be it 
observed, are not to be considered as sufficient, of themselves, 
to constitute the call of which we are speaking. They may 
exist in the absence of other qualifications necessary to the 
work of the ministry. And this brings us to notice — 

The second species of qualifications requisite in this case, 
namely, the talents adapted to the work. 

The possession of such talents is obviously implied in the 
apostolic requisition — " apt to teach : " 1 Tim. iii : 2 ; and 
2 Tim. ii : 24. Talents are of two sorts — natural and 
acquired. In order to this "aptness" of which the apostle 
speaks, there must be some considerable stock of natural 
talent; — a mind capable of invention, or of forming original 
ideas, and a faculty to communicate these ideas to others. 
Pious persons, possessed of but small gifts, may employ 
them usefully in admonition and exhortation ; but to ser- 
monize — to exhibit the gospel in its various bearings, and to 
explain and illustrate its sacred truths — this is another mat- 
ter, and requires that talent of a different order be brought 
into action. 

Now, while the individual himself is the judge of his 
own desires and motives — of all his own exercises of mind, 
others must judge of the fitness of his talents for the work: 
and the proper persons for this judgment are those with 
whom he stands immediately connected, together with any 
others who, by them, may be called on to aid in such a case. 
For, as the minister is to be considered in the capacity of 
servant of the church, it is perfeclly fit and proper that his 
qualifications should be submitted to be thus judged of. 
From such evidence as the sacred records furnish, we may 
conclude that this mode of procedure is in accordance with 
the usage of the New Testament churches. Under the 



An Extract. 



7 



superintendence of the apostles, and their deputies, the evan- 
gelists, the churches appear to have formed their own judg- 
ment, and made their selection of their own officers. This 
judgment of the church may indeed be sometimes erroneous; 
but fallibility, in the present state of things, is not to be 
urged as an argument against the course here presented. It 
appears to commend itself to us as the proper course and the 
best ; and we have no idea that we should be benefitted by 
referring the matter to his Holiness of Rome, though he 
clothes himself with the mantle of infallibility. 

With respect to acquired talents, a small stock may suffice 
to mark out the person as the subject of a gospel call ; but 
we would not say that a small stock is sufficient to qualify 
him as a minister of the gospel. There is a distinction to 
be made between a divine call to the work of the ministry, 
and a preparation for the work; and an individual, (we 
conceive,) may be so far qualified as to give satisfactory 
evidence, or to induce the persuasion, that he is designated 
to that work, while as yet he is almost entirely unqualified 
for its performance. The buds of promise may be discerned 
in the natural talents of the person, through the medium of 
a small share of acquired ability; and after a while he may 
receive the sanction of the church as a probationer, with a 
view to his improvement in knowledge, particularly in the 
knowledge of holy truth, by all the means which may be 
afforded for that purpose. 

A man so far qualified, — experiencing the exercises of 
mind which we have stated, and possessed of the talents 
which shall be judged suitable for the work, may, in our 
estimation, be considered as the subject of a scriptural call 
to the gospel ministry ; to be fully invested with the office 
when it shall appear to be expedient. 

AN EXTRACT. 
A person may possess a measure of fitness for the minis- 
try, without eminence; he may possess some desirable qual- 
ities, but not all. Not that we are disposed to speak harshly 
of men of inferior attainments. We have all of us too 
many imperfections, to permit us to be censorious of the 
least eminent of our brethren ; and there is too much reason 
to bless God for the usefulness he affords to all, to allow us 
to represent the meanest instrument as useless. But emi- 



3 



An Extract. 



nence in ministerial qualifications is nevertheless desirable. 
An ardent longing for it breathes in the language of the 
apostle, and there are reasons of no small weight, which 
should inspire us with a kindred feeling. # # * # # 
With any impressive view of these things, the thought of 
entering unqualified on such a work is most awful. Who 
would profess to guide his wretched fellow-creatures to ever- 
lasting joy, without some fitness for the task? Who would 
pretend to conduct them to deliverance from impending 
w T oes, without some knowledge of the way of escape ? Who 
would exhibit himself as the representative of the Divine 
Majesty, without understanding the attitude he assumes, and 
in some measure imbibing the spirit of his ways? What 
calamity, nay, what crime, is not to be preferred, to that of 
assuming the office of God's representative, only to betray 
the interests of his kingdom ; and that of man's guide to 
happiness, only to beguile him into endless perdition? 

But if these are powerful reasons why no man should 
engage r in the ministry wholly unqualified, they urge us 
with equal force in the pursuit of qualifications eminent and 
complete. If he, who is altogether unfit for the work, can- 
not rightly discharge any of its duties, he that is incomplete- 
ly furnished can discharge them but imperfectly. There 
ought to be no duty, in the performance of which, imper- 
fection is tolerated by us; but least of all should those of 
the christian ministry be of that number. O, how much 
may depend on every breath, when we speak for God! 
How will the heart need to be inspired with the highest wis- 
dom, and to be animated by the holiest dispositions, which 
is employed in connection with such awful issues ! Or with 
what degree of incorrectness are we willing to represent the 
Most High to mankind? By how far defective results are 
we content that our embassy should be followed ? With 
what measure of inefficacy do we wish to occupy the post 
of instrumental benefactors of our kind ? Whom do we 
wish to sink into hell beneath our care, or to fall short of 
heaven? If none, then why are we negligent of any quali- 
fication for our ministry? Why content with ordinary or 
moderate attainments? Why in peace with our known 
deficiencies, or employing otherwise than with the most fer- 
vent diligence, our opportunities of improvement? 

John Howard Hinton. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHEK. 



VOL. V, March, 1846, NO, 3. 

THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH; 

Or, the Church organized at Jerusalem by the 
Apostles, a model for all succeeding ages. 

A Sermon, preached at the opening of the new meeting-house at Newnan, 
Ga., the fourth Lord's day in November, 1845, by Rev. Robert 
Fleming. 

" Then Peter said unto them, ' Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the 
name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of 
the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all 
that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many 
other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward 
generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the 
same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they con- 
tinued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of 
bread, and in prayers. ," — Acts ii : 38 — 42. 

Every revelation which God has made to man, proclaims 
that he is love. The sacrifices and ceremonies enjoined 
under the law regulating the old dispensation, were a shadow 
of good things to come. The gospel brought life and im- 
mortality to light; and those sacrifices which were offered, 
" year by year continually," and which could never " make 
the comers thereunto perfect," were removed by the bii<*ht- 
ness of Emmanuel's coming. " For unto us a child is born, 
unto us a son is given ; and the government shall be upon 
his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the 
Vol. V — 6. 



38 



The Apostolic Church. 



Piince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and 
peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, 
and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with 
judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. 
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." Isa. ix. 
0, 7. 

When Jesus Christ was born, Matthew declares that it 
was the fulfilment of what the prophet had said, " Behold 
a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and 
they shall call his name Emmanuel : which being interpret- 
ed is, God with us." 

God with us ! Yea, verily, the Mighty God. God so 
loved the woild that he gave his only begotten son, that 
whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to 
condemn the world ; but that the world through him might 
be saved. John iii. 16, 17. He who was without sin, be- 
came a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, — was 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities, — bore our sins in 
his own body on the tree, and, for the joy that was set be- 
fore him, endured the cross, despising the shame. He who 
spake as man has never spoken, and who taught as one hav- 
ing authority, declares of himself : " All power is given unto 
me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, teach all na- 
tions, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and, lo, I am 
with you always, even unto the end of the world." These 
words were given to the apostles as a summary of the doc- 
trines they were to teach as ambassadors for Christ. They 
constitute what is now commonly called u the commission." 
Having received these instructions, the apostles returned from 
mount Olivet to Jerusalem. Jesus had told them that "re- 
pentance and remission of sins" should be preached in his 
name among all nations, u beginning at Jerusalem." Our 
text is a part of the account which Luke (the writer of the 
Acts of the Apostles,) gives of the result of their preaching 
on the day of Pentecost. The text presents a variety of 
topics for our consideration ; but as we design delivering a 
series of sermons from it, we shall, for the present, confine 
ourselves to the discussion of the following theme, viz : 



The Apostolic Church. 



39 



The church which the apostles formed at Je- 
rusalem, IS A MODEL OF CHURCH ORGANIZATION FOR 
ALL SUCCEEDING AGES. 

The commission given by Christ to his apostles, defined 
their position as ministers of the gospel. They were to go 
and teach all nations — teaching them to observe all things 
whatsoever Christ had commanded. No minister should go 
beyond the commission ; and every one should feel a holy 
desire, and make a laudable effort, to come up to its de- 
mands. None should add to it nor take from it. The doc- 
trines taught by Christ, and expounded and carried out by 
his apostles, are to be our rule of faith and practice. " The 
apostles' doctrine" mentioned in our text, is no new doc- 
trine, but the doctrine of Christ. The first church of Christ 
was organized at Jerusalem, within ten days after the ascen- 
sion, and immediately before the day of Pentecost. We 
will enquire, 

I. Of whom was this church constituted or organized 9 
We are informed in the first chapter of Acts, that when the 
apostles returned from mount Olivet to Jerusalem, they went 
up into an upper room, where abode Peter, James, John, 
Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, 
the son of Alpheus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas, the brother 
of James. " These all continued with one accord in prayer 
and supplication, with the women and Mary, the mother of 
Jesus, and with his brethren." " The number of the names 
together was about an hundred and twenty." But the hon- 
est inquirer after truth may > with propriety, ask, 

Who, besides the eleven above named disciples, and 
women, were included^ in the one hundred and twenty 9 In 
answer to this, it may be stated with certainty, that the se- 
venty other disciples which our Lord had appointed, (as 
stated in Luke, chapter x,) were included. This seventy 
added to the eleven, would make eighty-one, which, taken 
from the one hundred and tw r enty, leaves thirty-nine others. 
These thirty-nine, might be the women mentioned above, 
and the brethren of Jesus. (Matthew, xiii. 55.) We see, 
then, most clearly, that the church organized at Jerusalem 
consisted of believing men and women. That the seventy 
other disciples were included in this newly organized chinch, 
is plain from the move which Peter made in it, when one 



40 



The Apostolic Church. 



was to be chosen to fill the place from which Judas had fal- 
len. Peter's move reads thus: " Wherefore, of these men 
which have companied with us all the time that the Lord 
Jesus went in and out among us, beginning [to count] from 
the baptism of John, [counting] unto the same day that he 
was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness 
with us of his resurrection." Acts i: 21, 22, 23. To choose 
one in the place of Judas, was the first regular chuich act 
performed by the disciples.* Peter's move restricted the ac- 
tion of this little church, to the men who had companied 
with the apostles and Christ, all the time he went iti and 
out among them, counting from the baptism of John unto 
the day Christ ascended. It is obvious that it could not be 
said of any but the seventy, that they had companied with 
Christ and the apostles " all the time." In the 13th verse, 
the eleven apostles are named — in the 14th, it is said that 
these (the eleven named,) all continued with one accord 
(voluntarily and heartily,) in prayer and supplication, with 
the women, (it is not said how many,) and the mother of 
Jesus, with his brethren. In the 15th verse is mentioned 
the whole number of the disciples, (men and women togeth- 
er,) about one hundred and twenty. " These all continued 
with one accord in prayer," (fee, — plainly shewing, that in 
uniting with the church of God, the individual's own con- 
sent is required. Religion is a personal matter, and the con- 
science must not be fettered by the acts of others. No 
infants are mentioned in this organization. But it may be 
honestly asked by the inquirer, 

2. Had all the one hundred and twenty been baptized pre- 
viously? It is a fact worthy of notice, that previously to the 
organization of the church at Jerusalem, there is no mention, 
by name, of the baptism of any individual, except our Lord 
Jesus Christ. That none of them were baptized after enter- 
ing into this church organization, is admitted on all hands. 
That they had been previously baptized, is clear from the 
scripture facts. In the seventh chapter of the gospel by 
Luke, Jesus thus testifies of John the Baptist: "And all the 
people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, 
being baptized with the baptism of John. But the pharisees 
and lawyers, rejected the counsel of God against themselves, 



* See Coleman's Prim. Church, page 55. 



The Apostolic Church. 



41 



being not baptized of him." Luke vii : 29, 30, 35. " But 
wisdom is justified of all her children." Here we see, that 
all the people who heard John, justified God. # Even the 
publicans, those wicked men who had been abandoned and 
profligate sinners, were so wrought upon by the power and 
grace of God, through John's pleaching, that they justified 
God by " being baptized with the baptism of John." " Wis- 
dom is justified of all her children." But the disobedient, self- 
righteous pharisees, and the proud, self-wise lawyers, rejected 
the baptism of John, ("the counsel of God,") against them- 
selves. Now can we suppose that the eleven, the seventy, 
and the thirty-nine men and women, which composed this 
church, were not the children of wisdom, were not willing 
to justify God, and were rejectors of his counsel ? It is im- 
possible for any one capable of reasoning, to suppose any 
such thing. 

But we have positive proof that " two of John's disciples " 
followed Jesus. One of them was Andrew, Simon Peter's 
brother. Dr. Gill thinks the name of the other might be 
John the Evangelist, who for modesty's sake does not give 
his name. Jno. i : 35 to 40. As these two were the disci- 
ples of John the Baptist, they undoubtedly had been bap- 
tized by him.* We have no account of their having ever 
been re-baptized. The baptism of all these individuals, 
having been previous to Christ's ascension, and consequently 
previous to the organization of this church, is recognized as 
valid — is gospel baptism. Wisdom is justified of all her 
children, and as all the hundred and twenty were the chil- 
dren of wisdom, they had all been baptized, as well as the 
two above named. This is a fair, inevitable conclusion. 

" The apostles' doctrine " in our text is, that individuals 
should first repent, and then be baptized, not be baptized 
and then repent. This doctrine is in perfect agreement with 
the commission they had received : " Go ye, therefore, teach 
all nations, baptizing them," &c, — first teach, and then bap- 
tize. The church, God's high-school, requires individual 
preparation, before it can be entered by the applicant. The 
apostles' doctrine, throughout all the Acts of the Apostles is, 

* " Those who had formed the resolution of correcting their evil disposi- 
tions, and amending their lives, were initiated into the kingdom of the Re- 
deemer, by the ceremony of immersion or baptism." — Mosheim, vol. 1, 
page 25. Mat., iii : 6 ; Jno., i : 22. 



42 



The Apostolic Church. 



that faith and repentance are pre requisite to baptism, and 
that baptism is pre-requisite to church membership. Our 
text informs us, that those who gladly received Peter's word 
were baptized. By gladly receiving his word, we are cer- 
tainly to understand that they had repented, as he had com- 
manded them. And the same day there were added unto 
them about three thousand souls. Thus three thousand 
penitent, baptized believers, were added to this newly orga- 
nized church. But there is an account of another great 
addition of believers. "And of the rest, durst no man join 
himself to them. — And believers were the more added to the 
Lord, multitudes, both of men and women." Acts v: 13, 14. 
In the 8th chapter of Acts it is stated, " they were baptized, 
both men and women." No where in the scriptures is it 
said, the apostles, or any one else, baptized children.* 
Modern organizations baptize multitudes of children ; and 
now and then a believer. But the apostles' doctrine and 
practice are, to baptize multitudes of men and women, and 
no infants. If infant baptism is an apostolic doctrine, why 
have they given us no command — why have they shown us 
no example? 

As a church of Christ in this town, we hope to worship 
God e£ steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine." Then, dear 
brethren, let us come together in this house, with one ac- 
cord, — let us take for our model the church organization at 
Jerusalem, from which it is evident, "a church of Jesus 
Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, who have 
voluntarily united together to maintain the doctrines, ordi- 
nances and discipline of the gospel, having no union with 
the kingdoms of this world" But the unprejudiced, open 
hearted, pains taking seeker for truth, has heard it asserted, 
with as much positiveness as if it were so, that the baptism 
of John was not christian baptism, and therefore, the baptism 
of the hundred and twenty who entered into this visible 
church organization, is not christian baptism. For the bene- 
fit of all such, we would state — 

* " It is certain Christ did not ordain infant baptism, — we cannot prove 
that the apostles ordained infant baptism." — Neander's Ch. Hist., page 198. 

" Commands, or plain and certain examples in the New Testament, rela- 
tive to it, I do not find ; nor with my view of it, do I need them." — Prof 
Stuart on baptism, page 354. See also, Ripley's Exam., page 141. Indeed, 
among all truly learned men it is given up. 



The Apostolic Church. 



43 



3, JohriLS baptism was not rejected by the Apostles. 
Jesus Chiist declares of John, " this is he of whom it is 
written — behold, I send my messenger before thy face which 
shall prepare thy way before thee." Luke vii : 27. 
Higher testimony than this cannot be had on this subject. 
We should fear to testify contrary to the testimony of him 
who spake as man never spake. If John did not prepare 
the way of the Lord, then the testimony of Christ is not 
true — is not equal to that of some modern teachers. But 
Matthew agrees with Christ, (and so ought we,) and says : 
" This is he which was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, 
saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare 
ye the way of the Lord, make bis paths straight." The 
word "straight" in this verse, does not mean difficult, but 
in a direct line, without any crooks, angles or offsets. It is 
absurd to suppose that a man sent from God to baptize, and 
to prepare the way of the Lord, should be incompetent, 
should do nothing more than attend to the old Jewish cere- 
monies. If such a thing as Jewish proselyte baptism had ex- 
isted before John's day, the regular priests, and not John, 
would have administered it; and there would have been 
no need of a new and extraordinary appointment from 
heaven to give being to an old established custom.* " That 
the Jews baptized proselytes before the time of John, can 
never be proven." (See Robinson's History of Baptism, 
page 56.) But the learned Dr. Benson states four difficul- 
ties on this subject with a view to excite further inquiry. 
They are as follows : 

1. The Doctor had " not found any instance of one per- 
son's washing another, by way of consecration, purification, 
or sanctification • except that of Moses' washing Aaron and 
his sons, when he set them apart to the office of the ptiests. 
Levit. viii : 6." 

2. The Doctor says : " I cannot find that the Jews do at 
present practice any such thing as that of baptizing the pro- 
selytes that go over to them, though they are said to make 
them wash themselves." 

3. He asks : " Where is there any intimation of such a 
practice among the Jews, before the coming of our Lord ? 

•If John was keeping up old Jewish customs, why did the Jews send a 
deputation to him to inquire who he was ?— Jno. i : 22. Why arose a 
question among the Jews and John's disciples about purifying ?— Jno. iii : 25 



44 



The Apostolic Church. 



If any one could produce any clear testimony of that kind 
from the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, Josephus, or 
Philo, that would be of great moment. 7 ' 

4. He adds : In former times, proselytes, coming over 
from heathenism to the Jewish religion, used to wash 
themselves ; which is a very different thing from baptism, 
or one person's being washed by another. Thugh I must 
own, (says he,) I cannot see how infants could wash them- 
selves." 

But suppose the Jews did have such a custom as the bap- 
tism of proselytes, it is clear that God never commanded it. 
In Exodus xii : 48, 49, God has given the law for the re- 
ception of proselytes : " One law shall he to him that is 
home-born and unto the stranger." That law is : " Let 
all his males be circumcised; and then let him come near" 
Where, now, is the divine command for baptizing a prose- 
lyte, or for his washing himself all over in water? 

But what use can its advocates make of this subject? 
The answer is, none ; for a law to dip, is not a law to 
sprinkle ; a law for a man to dip himself, is not an authori- 
ty for another man to dip him ; a law to dip instructed 
proselytes, is not a law to baptize infants. 

But we hasten to state New Testament facts. John says : 

" HE THAT SENT ME TO BAPTIZE." His baptism WaS 

from HEAVEN, and not from Jewish traditions, or from 
unauthorized customs. He preached like a true gospel 
minister. He commanded the Jews to repent and bring 
forth fruits meet for repentance. He preached the doctrine 
of faith in Christ, as the only way of salvation. As the 
prophet of the Highest, he cried in the wilderness, " he 

THAT BELIEVETH ON THE SoN HATH EVERLASTING 
LIFE, AND HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT THE SON, SHALL 
NOT SEE LIFE BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON 
HIM."*" 

Jesus Christ, sanctioned the above doctrine: "If ye 
believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." 

Peter and the 120 recognized the baptism of John 
as christian baptism, and chose one from under John's dis- 
pensation to fill the place of Judas. Acts i: 21, 22. Had 
they rejected John's baptism, as not being christian baptism, 



* Jno. iii : 36. 



The Apostolic Church. 



45 



it. would have been a rejection of that which Christ and 
they themselves had leceived. 

Paul acknowledges the validity of John's baptism. In- 
deed, it would seem the Holy Spirit foresaw that men, after 
Christ's ascension, as well as before it, might still be so 
wicked as to reject the counsel of God by continuing to re- 
ject the baptism of John; hence this commendation of it 
by Paul, is given to settle forever its validity. Paul came to 
Ephesus and found certain disciples, and asked them if they 
had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They 
told him they had not so much as heard whether there be 
"any Holy Ghost : " meaning, no doubt, that they had not 
heard whether there were any miraculous endowments of 
the Holy Spiiit above and beyond what believers generally 
experience or know — for they weie " disciples," " believers." 
It will readily occur to the mind of the intelligent reader of 
the gospel, that " John did no miracle." But Paul now, 
by divine authority, intends that they shall experience, (not 
a new baptism,) but the miraculous displays of the power 
of the Holy Ghost. He says nothing against John's bap- 
tism ; but commends it. He asked them unto what they 
had been baptized; they said, "unto John's Baptism" 
Paul hearing this, states how John preached, how the peo- 
ple heard, and how they were baptized, as follows : " Then 
said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repent- 
ance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on 
him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 
When they heard this they were baptized in the name of 
the Lord Jesus." Paul did not re-baptize these disciples. 
He only recites what took place as a common occurrence, 
under John's preaching. But now he lays his hands on 
these twelve men, and as a matter of uncommon occurrence, 
" the Holy Ghost came on them,; and they spake ivith 
tongues, and prophesied." See Acts xix. Peter and John 
went down to Samaria and laid their hands on some of 
Philip's believing disciples at that place, " and they received 
the Holy Ghost. See Acts viii : 17. Thus God miracu- 
lously bestowed the gifts of the Holy Spiiit on John's disci- 
ples at Ephesus, as well as on Philip's at Samaria. The 
question was not about the validity of their baptism, as some 
would strangely seem to suggest, but it was simply , have ye 
received the Holy Ghost , (meaning undoubtedly,) the mira- 
culous gifts. 

Vol. V— 7. 



46 



The Apostolic Church. 



Doctor Gill, who understood more than twenty languages, 
has written an able exposition of the Bible in nine quarto 
volumes ; and his opinions, as a scholar and biblical critic, 
are undoubtedly worthy the attention of such as desire to 
know the meaning of the sacred scriptures. We give his 
exposition of the whole passage, Acts xix : 1 — 6. 

" And he said unto them, unto what then were ye bap- 
tized. And they said unto John's baptism." 

And he said unto them unto what then were ye baptized. 
The apostle takes it for granted they were baptized, since 
they were not only believers, but disciples ; such as not only 
believed with the heart, but had made a profession of their 
faith, and were followers of Christ ; but asks, unto what 
they were baptized, &c. " They said unto John's baptism" 
The apostle affirms (in reply to this,) in the following words : 
" Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of 
repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe 
on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ 
Jesus." " When said Paul" in reply to their answer, 
understanding them that they were baptized by John, he 
takes it up and gives an account of John's baptism ; show- 
ing how agreeable it was, and that it was the same baptism 
with that of Christ, being administered in his name. " Then 
said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repent- 
ance" which required repentance antecedent to it, and was 
a fruit and effect, and so an evidence of it. " Sayitig unto 
the people " — John saying unto the people of the Jews, the 
common people, the multitude that attended on his ministry, 
" that they should believe on him which should come after 
him, that is, on Christ Jesus." So that he (John,) preached 
faith in Christ, as well as repentance towards God, and made 
the one as well as the other, a pre-requisite to baptism ; which 
shows that his baptism and christian baptism are the same. 

"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name 
of the Lord Jesus." 

a When they heard this"— -that is, the people to whom 
John preached, his hearers; when they heard of the Messi- 
ah, and that Jesus was he, and that it became them to 
believe in him, " they were baptized in the name of the 
Lord Jesus " — not the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus, 
but the hearers of John ; for these are the words of the 
apostle Paul, giving an account of John's baptism, and of 
the success of his ministry, showing that his baptism was 



The Apostolic Church. 



4? 



administered in the name of the Lord Jesus ; and not the 
words of Luke the evangelist recording what followed upon 
his (Paul's) account of John's baptism ; for then he would 
have made mention of Paul's name, as he does in the next 
verse, and would have said, when they heard this account 
they were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
Luke reports two things; first, what Paul said, which lies 
in verses 4th and 5th ; secondly, what Paul did, which lies 
in verse 6th, where he repeats Paul's name as was necessa- 
ry; and that he laid his hands upon them, which was all 
that was necessary to their receiving the extraordinary gifts 
of the Holy Ghost, having been already baptized in (he 
name of the Lord Jesus. This sense is the more confirmed 
by the particles men and de, which answer to one another in 
verses 4th and 5th, and show the words to be a continuation 
of the apostle's speech, and not the words of the historian, 
which begin in the next verse." 

The above is Dr. Gill's exposition, which is in exact 
accordance with our own views. Then it may be remarked 
(as we did on a former occasion,) that the word " this," in 
verse 5th, is not in the original; and the sense of the verse 
is properly conveyed by reading it as we did then, viz : 
< £ when they heard John, they were baptized in the name of 
the Lord Jesus." 

May we not, brethren, feel fully authorized to say and 
believe with Mark, that John's baptism was, " the beginning 
of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" If John's 
baptism was not christian baptism, why did Christ commend 
it by word, and by submitting to it himself? Why were 
not the 120 re-baptized? Why was not Matthias ? Why 
was not Apollos? They knew " only the baptism of John." 

IV. If the commission given by Christ to his apostles is 
to be their rule, and the rule of all succeeding ministers, 
does it authorize the organization of a Church. " The 
apostles' doctrine " is nothing more nor less than the doc- 
trine of Christ. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, 
says, "be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 
To the Philippians, he says, " those things which ye have 
both learned, and received, and heard > and seen in me, do; 
and the God of peace shall be with you." But the question 
is, did Jesus Christ authorize the separation of his be 
licving children from the unbelieving world, and require 



4S 



The Apostolic Church. 



them to embody themselves together as a separate and dis- 
tinct people $ He did. " My kingdom is not of this world," 
said he. The apostles taught this doctrine.* Paul says : 
H Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for 
what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, 
and what communion hath light with darkness? And what 
concord hath Christ with Belial ? Or what part hath he that 
believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the 
temple of God with idoi3? For ye are the temple of the 
living God ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and 
walk in them ; I will be their God, and they shall be my 
people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye 
separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I 
will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, ye shall be 
my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2. Cor. vi. 
This doctrine is one of the "all things" which Christ 
commanded to be taught. Peter, who preached in our text, 
that men should repent before they could be baptized, writes 
in his general epistle, "ye also, as lively stones, are built 
up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual 
sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Unconvert- 
ed persons, whether men, women or children, cannot offer 
up spiritual sacrifices — cannot be called lively stones in this 
spiritual house. (See Neander, page 103.) 

" The Jews," says Milman in his history of Christianity, 
" were a civil as well as a religious community ; but the 
christian church-state is purely religious. The apostles' 
doctrine on this point, is — " ye are a chosen generation, a 
royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." 1 Pet. 
ii : 9. The children of Jews were entitled, by birth and 
blood, to the privileges of the Jewish kingdom. Repentance 
and faith were not required as qualifications for admittance 
into its privileges. John the Baptist, so understood this, and 
lest the Jews might form wrong notions respecting the gospel 
kingdom, he says to them distinctly, "think not to say 
within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; fori 
say unto you, God is able of these stones to raise up chil- 
dren unto Abraham." Mat. iii : 9. Paul so understood 
this, and says to the Galatians, " ye are all the children of 
God by faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you as have 



* See Coleman's Primitive Church, pages 228 — 9. 



The Apostolic Church. 



been baptized into Jesus Christ, have put on Christ. There 
is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, 
there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ." 
An unconverted person, though he may have his name en- 
rolled in the church-book, is nevertheless an alien and for- 
eigner; he is not a fellow-citizen with the saints : he is a 
bastard and not a sen. He has no authority nor power to 
cry, Abba, Father. 

From what we have said, it is evident that Christ did 
authorize his disciples to congregate in a chinch capacity; 
and the apostles proceeded at Jerusalem in obedience to the 
instructions of their ascended Lord. Those who repented 
and were baptized, weie added to the church. They con- 
tinued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, 
and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Let us as a 
church, in this house, continue steadfastly in the " apostles' 
doctrine." 

As we have seen, this model church at Jerusalenvwas 
a voluntary body of baptized believers, who were " witb 
one accord in one place." We then are authorized to state 

V. Thai a church is an independent congregation, hav- 
ing no union with the kingdoms of this world. The Jew- 
ish polity was both civil and religious. It seemed difficult 
for Jews to conceive of a purely religious, spiritual organiza- 
tion. Jesus told them his kingdom was not of this world, 
and directed them to render unto Caesar the things that are 
Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's. Thus 
teaching that the church is not to legislate for the kingdoms 
of I his world, nor civil governments to enact laws for the 
regulation of the worship of God. " There is one law- 
giver," who is head over all things, to the church, and with 
him the wisdom of this world is foolishness. The civil 
arm is not that by which the kingdom of our God is to be 
planted, suppoited and extended in the earth ; for it is not 
by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord. 
It is a remarkable fact, apparent in the history of nations, 
that where the principles recognized in the apostolic church 
have prevailed, religion has never been established by the 
civil power, and in these countries civil and religious liberty 
are best understood. 

VI. The apostles established no superior orders among 
ministers. Christ had most explicitly forbidden it. " Be 



5U 



The Apostolic Church. 



not yc called Rabbi; for one is your master, even Christ; 
and all ye arc brethren. And call no man your father upon 
the earth ; for one is your Father who is in heaven." Mat. 
xxiii: 8, 9. This delightful expression, all ye are brethren, 
should never be forgotten among ministers of the gospel. 
The high-sounding, new-coined sense which is now attached 
to the word " bishop" grates on the ear of the meek and 
lowly minister. Mosheim, in his church history, (Vol 1 
Bait. edit, pages 38, 39,) says — " there reigned among the 
members of the christian church, however distinguished they 
were by worldly rank and titles, not only an amiable har- 
mony, but also a perfect equality. This appeared in the 
feast of charily in which all were indiscriminately assembled ; 
by the names of brethren and sisters with which they salu- 
ted each other; and by several circumstances of a like na- 
ture. A bishop during the first and second century, was a 
person who had the care of one christian assembly, which 
at that time was generally speaking small enough to be 
convened in a private house." These views are held, and 
have ever been held by the Baptists, and agree with the 
apostles' doctrine. These doctrines we expect, by the grace 
of God, to teach in this house. We expect continually to 
follow the model given us by the apostles at Jerusalem. 
(See Coleman's Apos. Ch., page 36.) 

VII. The New Testament churches are not only con- 
gregational, and have no superior orders among the minis- 
ters, but in their form of government, they are separate, 
independent, religious republics. The word of God is clear 
on this point. When Peter rose up in this little church and 
made a move to appoint a man to take the place from which 
Judas had fallen, they gave forth their lots (or votes,) and 
the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the 
eleven apostles. To decide by the vote of the whole 
church, was purely republican. But again, in this church, 
when seven deacons were afterwards to be appointed, " the 
twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and 
said, wherefore, brethren, look ye out among yon seven men 
of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom 
we may appoint over this business." Acts vi. " And the 
saying pleased the whole multitude, and they chose 
Stephen," &c. The twelve would not dare to appoint these 
deacons, and thus take from the members of this church 



NORTH CAROLINA STATE LIBRARY. 



The Apostolic Church. 5L 

their liberties. They did not consider the church incapable 
of self-government — incompetent to manage church affairs, 
and that they should therefore manage for them. God has 
nowhere in his word authorized one man to surrender the 
keeping of his conscience to another ; he has not authorized 
one man to delegate to another the inalienable rights which 
lie possesses as a church member ; in other words, to sur- 
render the management of the affairs of the church to others, 
not even to elders. " If then ye have judgments of things 
pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least es- 
teemed in the church." 1 Cor. vi : 4. What a reproof 
this, to ail modern organizations. In the 15th of Acts, we 
have another instance in which this religious republic was 
called together to consider an important question. There 
had arisen a difficulty in the church at Antioch, about cir- 
cumcision, and the church determined to send Paul and 
Barnabas to Jerusalem to get the advice of this church, 
whose organization we are now considering, and when they 
were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church 
and the apostles and elders. " Then pleased it the apostles 
and elders, with the whole church, to send," <fcc. u And 
they wrote letters by them after this manner : The apostles 
and elders, and brethren, send greeting, " &c. So when 
Paul and Barnabas were dismissed by the church at Jerusa- 
lem to go back to the church at Antioch, they, coming to 
Antioch, gathered the multitude together, (not elders,) and 
delivered the epistle. See verse 30. This was not a pres- 
byterial assemblage of elders, but the convocation of the 
whole church, and not a council of churches. It is a re- 
markable fact that when the apostles went up to Jerusalem 
on the above question, it is said they were received of the 
church first — the church is first mentioned. The truth is, 
the church is first in power; all ecclesiastical power is vested 
by Christ, in the church. A minister gets all his authority, 
so far as human agency is concerned, from the church, and 
not from a convention of bishops and elders. Human wis- 
dom has boldly and presumptuously stepped beyond " the 
perfect law of liberty," (the gospel plan,) and reared her 
" standards of discipline," and established her " rules of faith 
and order," as if the book of God were dark and insufficient 
on these subjects. Some times we hear the epithet, " most 
excellent discipline, or standard," applied to such books. 

Jfor€k (S**oli** 
State feibrary* 



52 7%e Apostolic Church. 

May the Bible be viewed by those who worship God in 
this house, as the most excellent standard, the only stan- 
dard of faith and practice. 

How beautiful! how simple! how explicit! are the in- 
structions of Christ in the 18th of Matthew! " Tell it to 
the church" — "But if he neglect to hear the church, let 
him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." That 
is, if he shall neglect to attend to the case when it is laid 
before the church; or, if he shall, when the case is investi- 
gated, refuse to abide by the decision of the church, there 
is no appeal from the decision of the church, up to a higher 
ecclesiastical court. The gospel knows nothing of appeals 
from the decision of the church. All appeals to presbyte- 
ries, synods or conferences of bishops and elders, are of 
human origin. * Mosheim says, " it was therefore the 
assembly of the people, (meaning the whole of the church 
members,) which chose rulers and teachers, or received them 
by a free and authoritative consent when recommended by 
others. The same people rejected or confirmed by their 
suffrages, the laws that were proposed by their rulers to the 
assembly ; excommunicated profligate and unworthy mem- 
bers of the church ; restored the penitent to their forfeited 
privileges; passed judgment upon the different subjects of 
controversy and dissension that arose in their community; 
examined and decided the disputes which happened between 
the elders and deacons, and in a word, exercised all that au- 
thority which belongs to such jxs are vested with sovereign 
power." (Vol. 1, page 37.) 

Again Mosheim say — " Nothing is more evident than the 
perfect equality that reigned among the primitive churches; 
nor does there appear in the first century the smallest trace 
of that association of provincial churches, from which coun- 
cils and metropolitans derive their origin." (Yol. 1., p. 39.) 
" During a great part of the second century, the churches 
were independent with respect to each other; nor were they 
joined by association, confederacy, or any other bonds than 
those of charity ; each christian assembly was a liitle slate, 
governed by its own laws, which were enacted, or at least 
appointed by the society."! (Vol. 1, page 60.) 

This is the apostles' doctrine. This church holds this 

* See Coleman's Church without a Bishop, page 49. f See Dr. Barrow 
and Dr. Burton, as quoted by Coleman, page 50. 



The Apostolic Church. 



53 



doctrine in common with all other regular Baptist churches. 
We are bound by no bond of union but charity; have no 
formulary of discipline but the Bible. 

" But in process of time," (says Mosheim, vol 1 , p. 60,) 
" all the christian churches (meaning congregations,) of a 
province weie formed into a large ecclesiastical body, which, 
like confederate states, assembled at stated times in order to 
deliberate about the common interests of the whole. This 
institution had its origin among the Greeks, (mark it, among 
the Greeks,) with whom nothing was more common than 
this confederacy of independent states. To these assem- 
blies, in which the deputies or commissioners of the several 
churches assembled together, the name of synods was appro- 
priated by the Greeks, and that of councils, by the Latins ; 
and the laws that were enacted in these general meetings, 
were called cannons, that is, rules. These councils, of 
which we find not the smallest trace before the middle of 
this century, (second,) changed the whole face of the church, 
and gave it a new form ; for by them the ancient privileges 
of the people were considerably diminished, and the power 
and authority of the bishops greatly augmented. Another 
effect of these councils was the gradual abolition of that 
perfect equality which reigned among the bishops in the 
primitive times." (Vol. I, p. 60.) It will be remembered 
by the reader, that the word bishop in the above quotation, 
means a pastor of a church, simply one church. * 

By the above historical record, we see how the church 
lost its simplicity of organization ; its primitive beauty ; 
how the apostles' doctrine was departed from ; how sijnods 
and councils originated, and how their cannons became 
authoritative, and seated " the mother of harlots " in 
all her power at Rome. 

At this day, there are many who would attempt to im- 
prove upon the apostolic plan, by changing the form of 
church organization from a congregational republic to an 
episcopal oligarchy, or to a sy nodical aristocracy. Mosheim 
has said as much at page 37: " If, however, it be true, that 
the apostles acted by divine inspiration, and in conformit}'' 
with the commands of their blessed master, (and this no 
christian can call in question,) it follows that the form of 



* See Coleman's Church without a 
Vol. V— 8. 



54 



The Apostolic Church. 



government which the primitive churches borrowed from 
that of Jerusalem, the first christian assembly established by 
the apostles themselves, must be esteemed as of divine in- 
stitution." "But, (continues he,) from this it would be 
wrong to conclude that such a form is immutable, and 
ought to be invariably observed." This is strange language 
to come from one of Mosheim's reputation. But Mosheim 
was in favor of synods and councils; was episcopal in his 
notions of church polity, and therefore we can readily ac- 
count for his desiring to depart from this apostolic plan, 
though he says, 0= it must be esteemed as of Divine 
institution. «=r$ We as a church of Christ here, do most 
assuredly hold that the apostles' doctrine on this subject 
should be continued in steadfastly ; should be preserved in- 
violate ; should be the model through all ages, and under 
all circumstances. We hold the apostolic council in the 
"upper room" at Jerusalem, of higher authority than the 
council at Nice or at Westminster. We view episcopal and 
presbyterial organizations and forms of government, as de- 
partures from the apostles' doctrine. The plain precepts of 
the gospel, the writings of the apostles, and the testimony of 
the most popular ecclesiastical historians, as well as 
Mosheim, support our views. 

John, in the isle of Patmos, wrote to the seven churches 
of Asia — to the church at Ephesus, at Smyrna, at Pergamos, 
at. Thyatira, at Sardis, at Philadelphia, and at Laodicea. 
Each of these churches is addressed in its individual capaci- 
ty; and although they were in the same part of the world, 
they were not united in an episcopal, nor synodical organ- 
ization. They were separate, distinct, independent, repub- 
lican bodies. By reading the second chapter of the Reve- 
lation of John, the inquirer after truth on this subject, will 
readily see, that this apostolic doctrine was adhered to, and 
recognized at the close of the New Testament scriptures. 
Why christian men should not continue in the apostles' doc- 
trine now, we cannot conceive. Are men in these modern 
times wiser than the inspired apostles? Or do they think 
the apostolic form so old and so out of fashion, that it will 
not do to work by it in this age of modern refinement? Let 
us be careful, brethren, how we tamper with the precepts 
and examples left us by those holy men, who spoke and 
wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 



The Apostolic Church. 



m 



VIII. The church is to maintain the doctrines of the 
g-ospel. By the example of the church at Jerusalem, all 
departures from the apostles' doctrine are discountenanced 
and foi bidden. Apostolic example is as authoritative as 
their command ; and therefore when we have their precept, 
or their example, it is full authority for the performance of 
any duty. Paul says to the Philippians — " Brethren, be 
followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as 
ye have us for an example." Phil, iii : 17. In the com- 
mission which the apostles had received, and which was 
now to extend to " all the world" they are required to teach 
all things whatsoever Christ had commanded ; and although 
it does not appear anywhere in the New Testament, that 
Christ commanded the baptism of children, or of untaught 
persons, yet if we had apostolic example for it, we should 
feel ourselves bound to practice and maintain it. But as it 
is, we are not funished with precept nor example from 
Christ nor from his holy apostles. Paul congratulates the 
Roman brethren, for their hearty reception of the truth and 
obedience to it. But ye have obeyed from the heart the 
form of doctrine which was delivered you." Rom. vi: 7. 
In the last chapter of his epistle to them, he exhorts them to 
continue firm, and to discountenance all innovations of, and 
departures from, this doctrine. "I beseech yon, brethren, 
mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to 
the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them." He 
tells Titus to show uncorruptness in doctrine, and to adorn 
the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. "The 
law of the Lord is perfect." The marginal reading is, " the 
doctrine of the Lord is perfect." Ps. xix. Then every 
alteration must be for the worse; for a perfect thing cannot 
be made better. 

It is remarkable, that innovators almost always plead that 
the word of God has not settled the point, and therefore 
they are left at liberty to act at their own discretion and con- 
venience. Others again consider the silence of God's word 
as authoritative as God's command. But God's silence is 
not God's revelation ; his withholding commandment is not 
giving commandment. That trite saying, " silence gives 
consent," is not applicable to the proceedings of Him who 
inhabiteth eternity. All scripture is given by inspiration of 
God, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished 



56 



The Apostolic Church. 



unto all good works. So then, we are furnished from what 
God has given, and not from what he has not given. The 
silence of the scriptures may be construed by a Roman 
Catholic into authority for baptizing his church bell ; but 
that a Protestant should construe the same silence into au- 
thority for the baptism of babes is strange work. 

As a church of Jesus Christ at this place, we hope, by the 
help of the Lord, ever to make the word of God our "sure 
word of prophesy." " The secret things belong unto the 
Lord our God ; but these things which are revealed belong 
unto us, and to our children forever, that we may do all the 
words of this law." Deut. xxix: 29. To the law and to 
the testimony, shall be our course, in all matters pertaining 
to God's service. Whenever we go beyond the limits of 
revelation, we shall be in a region of darkness, without a 
lamp to our feet, or a light to our path — 

" Where blind conjecture, rampant, runs astray." 

IX. The church is not only to maintain the apostles' 
doctrine, but she is to extend it to others. The church of 
the living God is called by Paul, H the pillar and ground of 
the truth." Christ says of his people — " Ye are the light 
of the world." The light of God's grace shining into the 
hearts of men, prepares them to reflect it out again upon the 
world ; and instru mentally they become the light of the 
world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may 
see your good works and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven. It is the intent of God to make known, by the 
church, his manifold wisdom. # This is the doctrine of 
the apostles, as well as of the prophets : " Enlarge the place 
of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy 
habitations ; spare not — lengthen thy cords and strengthen 
thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and 
on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and 
make the desolate cities to be inhabited." Through the 
instrumentality of the church, the minister of God goes out; 
and though he is under the influence of the spirit of the 
Lord, yet he can accomplish nothing without the presence 
of the Lord to bless the word preached. " It is the spirit 



Ephesians iii : 10. 



The Apostolic Church, 57 

that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteih nothing." Jno. vi : 63. 
Peter preached this doctrine on the day of Pentecost, when 
the Holy Spirit was poured out. He met the scoffers by an 
immediate quotation from the prophet — u For these are not 
drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the 
day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet 
Joel : And it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith God,) 
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh." 

Dear fellow sinner, Paul may plant and Apollos may 
water, but God only givelh the increase. Such is our de- 
pravity, our blindness, our deafness, our unfeelingness, our 
death in sin, that without the Spirit's power we shall never 
repent, never gladly receive the word, never come to Christ, 
never be s:\ved. It is not only the work of the Spirit to open 
the eyes of the understanding, but the grace of perseverance 
in the divine life is also the work of the Spirit. When Paul 
prayed that the Roman brethren might be filled with all joy 
and peace in believing, he prayed that all this might be ac- 
complished by "the power" (not agency) of the Holy 
Ghost. It is remaikable that the word "agency," is not in 
the Bible, and consequently is not used by the apostle, when 
speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. 
The reason is plain. The Holy Ghost is, God, the Holy 
Ghost, and not an agent ; foi an agent is an inferior. The 
apostle's language on this subject is truly sublime : " That 
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may 
give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the 
knowledge of him ; the eyes of your understanding being 
enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his call- 
ing, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in 
the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power 
to usward who believe, according to the working of his 
mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised 
him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the 
heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and 
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not 
only in this world, but also in that which is to come." The 
treasure of gospel truth is put in earthen vessels ; the excel- 
lency of the power is of God. The weapons of the minis- 
ter's warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the 
pulling down of strongholds. We preach not ourselves, 
says the apostle, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves 



58 



An Kxtract. 



your servants for Jesus' sake. Ministeis, then, are the ser- 
vants of the chuiches, and are required to give themselves 
wholly to the work ; to study to show themselves approved 
unto God. The church is bound by the apostles' doctrine 
to support her minister. " Even so hath the Lord ordained, 
that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 
1 Cor. ix : 14. 

X. The unity of the people of God is an apostolic doc- 
trine. In our text it is asserted that they all continued 
steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in 
breaking of bread, and in prayers. " All that believed were 
togethei, and had all things common." Acts i : 44. Jesus 
Christ had prayed that all who should believe on him 
through their word, (the apostles' word,) might be one. 
Jno. xvii: 20, 21. God never designed that his people 
should be separated ; but he requites that they should be 
laborers together with him ; striving together for the 
faith of the gospel. Phil, i : 27. It is painful to the 
pious heart to witness the divisions, the envying, the strife, 
and contention which disturb the christian world. It is a 
lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation, that the people 
of God are torn into parties ; that the members of Christ do 
not see eye to eye ; that although the watchmen lift up the 
voice, " with the voice together" they do not sing as they 
should. O ! for that happy, that delightful, that glorious 
period, when the people of the Lord shall come together, 
and when one church-house shall be for the use of all the 
saints, and when one minister shall preach God's truth, there 
shall be none to oppose, none to hurt, none to work the 
work of destruction in all God's holy mountain. O! for the 
fulfilment of the prayer of the interceding Saviour, that 
those who shall believe on him through the word of his min- 
isters — " that they all may be one." 

AN EXTRACT. 

When a people settle a pastor, they ought to calculate to 
continue to love the man of their choice, and to make the 
most of him as their minister ; and not think of exchanging 
him, after a few months, or a year or two, for some other 
man, equally frail and imperfect, or perhaps more so, or for 
utter and long-continued destitution. And the settled pastor, 
on the other hand, ought to be content wilh the people who 



An Extract. 



59 



have chosen him, and with whom he has found it his duty 
to consent to be united, and to make the most of them and 
the community around them, over whom, perhaps, he may 
have some influence. There are, doubtless, exceptions to 
this rule, but they are not so numerous as to take the place 
of the rule. 

For the situation of ministers to be more permanent would 
doubtless increase their happiness, impiove their circumstan- 
ces, and add much to the weight of the character of the 
ministry. When the ties of the pastoral relation are of so 
frail and slight a character as to be sundered by almost every 
wind which blows, the affection between pastor and people 
cannot often be very strong. It will not, generally, have 
time to become well cemented, before it is sundered. Their 
mutual confidence must be weak and wavering. And they 
will find it difficult, for any length of time, cordially to co- 
operate together for the advancement of the interest of reli- 
gion. If a people do not intend, that the relation of their 
pastor to them shall be a permanent thing, they will not 
generally be anxious to throw much influence into his 
hands. 

Those churches and societies flourish best, in general, 
where the pastoral relation is most permanent, where there is 
mutual affection, mutual forbearance, and mutual faithful- 
ness, from year to year, and where neither minister nor peo- 
ple are given to change. We love that people, who, after 
years of acquaintance with him, prefer to hear their own 
minister to any stianger who may temporarily occupy his 
place. We could, were it not invidious, name a considera- 
ble number of examples, which clearly show the advantages 
which evidently result from permanency in the pastoral re- 
lation ; and, on the other hand, of the disastrous consequen- 
ces of frequent change. 

The idea of a minister being employed merely by the 
year is not only objectionable, but revolting. The Bible 
gives us no intimation of any such arrangement in the days 
of primitive Christianity. And it seems to us, that a people 
who so regard the relation of their pastor to them, are not 
prepared to realize any permanent benefit from his labors. 
He may wear himself out in their service, in a few months; 
but their very arrangement in employing him must almost 
certainly prevent his acquiring an extensive influence among 



60 



An Extract. 



ihem. And how much good can he do, with his influence 
thus circumscribed, and his energies cramped? Such a peo- 
ple and such a pastor will be strongly tempted to treat each 
other as most men would treat a farm, which thay had rent- 
ed for a single year, and which they expected to leave at the 
close of the contract, making the most of it for themselves, 
to be sure, but to the essential diminution of its value. It 
will take more than one year, for a minister to become well 
acquainted with his people, especially if they are numerous; 
more than one year, to establish among them an unquestion- 
ed, extensive, and salutary influence. And yet, such an in- 
fluence as this is indispensable to his success. 

We are not advocates foi the plan of settling a pastor for 
life; but we are advocates for having some degree of perma- 
nency given to this sacred relation. When a people are 
looking for one to break to them the bread of life, it is no 
trifling blessing which they seek. Their selection ought to 
be made prayerfully, deliberately, and judiciously. The se- 
lection of a pastor is now a matter of too much taste, — too 
precipitately made, — a transaction of a w 7 eek or two, whereas 
months, peihaps, ought ordinarily to pass, before the matter 
is decided. The pastoral relation, once formed, ought to be 
regarded as having a sacred character attached to it, and not 
be dissolved hastily or for trivial causes. It ought to be a 
permanent thing, not subject to the changes of the moon, or 
lo the vicissitudes of the year. It should be understood, that 
there are mutual duties on the part of pastor and people, and 
that the imperfections which attach to each must put in re- 
quisition continued and mutual forbearance. 

How much more good might pastors do, in most cases, if, 
having found fields of labor adapted to their talents and 
habits, they were studiously and faithfully to cultivate them 
for a long series of years, like a Stillman, a Smith, or a Bald- 
win. One of the most flourishing churches in New Eng- 
land, though it has existed about two hundred years, it is 
said, never dismissed a pastor ; but the bodies of all the pre- 
decessors of the present pastor are entombed in one grave- 
yard, near the spot where they held their testimony while 
living. In that church, there has been a succession of 
mighty men of God, to stand in defence of the gospel. 

Christian Review. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL. V. April, 1846. NO. 4. 



PROVIDENCE : 

A Sermon, by Rev. A. M. Poindexter, preached at Antioch, Charlotte 
County, Va., at the funeral of Rev. C. F. Burnley. 

" The Lord reigneth." — Psalm xcvii. 

The belief of providence is common among men. Amidst 
all the darkness of paganism, it leads them to ascribe good 
or ill fortune to the intervention of their gods. It originated 
many of the theories of the wisest philosophers of Greece 
and of Rome. To this source may be traced the doctrine 
of Plato — that there is a being, created by God, from mind 
and matter, animating and presiding over ihe universe; and 
of the Stoics — that God is the soul of the universe. 

Freed from all absurdity, the scriptures teach the doctrine 
of providence. Our text, asserting (as it does,) the sover- 
eignty of Jehovah, has respect to the kingdom of providence, 
as that over which he reigns. It teaches the sovereignty 
of God in providence. In the discussion of this subject, 
we propose, 

First. To state the doctrine of the divine providence. 

Second. To exhibit some of its proofs. 

Third. To point out some abuses to tohich the doctrine 
is liable; and some of the benefits resulting from a right 
belief of it. 

I. We are to state the doctrine of the divine providence. 

The providence of God is the supervision and direction 
which he exercises over the universe. All creation is under 
the government of God, not only as of right subject to him, 
but as being the object of his constant care and control. 
Vol. V— 9. 



62 



Providence. 



The remarks which it is proposed to make upon this subject 
will, however, relate chiefly to our own world. All parts of 
this world, animate and inanimate, physical and intellectual, 
are swayed by the providence of God. Under his control, 
the heavenly bodies continue to occupy the position assigned 
to them by the great Architect of the universe. At his will, 
nations rise and fall, kings reign and are dethroned; the 
complex machinery of human society is regulated, and pro- 
pelled to its great end ; and, at the same time, he guides the 
course of the falling leaf, and marks out the path of the 
wandering sparrow. 

The providence of God is not only universal, taking in the 
entire range of created beings, but it is also individual in its 
regards^ and constant in its operations. Not one atom of 
matter, not one species of animate or inanimate being, not 
one individual of any species, is overlooked, or suffered to 
break loose from his guiding hand. And with wakeful vigi- 
lence and untiring care, is this government unceasingly exer- 
cised. We are under its control from the cradle to the tomb. 

II. Let us attend to some of the proofs of this doctrine. 

1. It may be established by the consideration of the 
Divine character. God is a being of infinite intelligence. 
He proposed, by creation, to effect some purpose worthy of 
himself. Can it be thought that he will permit his design 
to be frustrated? That he will not secure the accomplish- 
ment of his purpose? Whatever the object proposed in 
creation may be, he can have no difficulty in securing it. 
He is everywhere present beholding the evil and the good ; 
and he is possessed of infinite wisdom and power to origi- 
nate and direct influences to this end — will he not do it? 
God is infinitely good. It is conformable to our ideas of 
goodness, that it will exert itself to promote good. Will not 
God, then, so order and control the system which he has 
brought into being, as to make all its parts, though in them- 
selves discordant, harrncnize in the production of good, of 
his own glory, connected with the virtue and happiness of 
his creatures? 

The idea that the Supreme Being, having created the 
world, sits in solitary unconcern, contemplating the course 
of events, without the will to direct them to any specific ter- 
mination ; or that he has so bound in the chains of fate the 
destiny of all things, that even his own omnipotence cannot 



Providence. 



alter that destiny; is alike abhorrent from all our conception? 
of the divine character, and repulsive to all the better and 
nobler feelings of the human heart. No, God is our Father. 
He watches with paternal care over the children of his pow- 
er. And his providence will, eventually, render eternity 
blessed in the happiness of his creatures, and heaven re- 
splendent with his own glory. 

To this it may be objected, that the existing state of 
things is inconsistent with the doctrine advanced. Can we 
suppose thai a Being of infinite goodness, justice and power, 
governs a world in which disorder so abounds? In which 
the wicked prosper and the good suffer? 

The introduction of sin into the universe, its continued 
and increasing prevalence, are subjects of a deep and mys- 
terious nature. The origin of evil has elicited much inves- 
tigation. But such enquiries are fruitless and vain. The 
human mind cannot explain how it consists with the holi- 
ness of God, to permit the beginning of sin ; why an infinite- 
ly benevolent Being should permit the cause of so much 
misery to be introduced. But facts cannot be denied. God 
created the world, and sin, with all its bitter fruits, exists. 
Now it is evidently not more difficult to reconcile this con- 
dition of things with providential government, than with 
creation. Indeed, there is less of difficulty in the former 
than the latter. When guided by the light of revelation, we 
look into the future, and perceive "evil overruled for good" 
— sin occasioning a brighter manifestation of the divine 
glory — and in its destruction, a higher and a happier destiny 
prepared for man, we at once feel that the government of 
providence harmonizes with the character of God. The 
doctrine of a future state, destroys, too, all objections to a 
providence, drawn from the prosperity of vice, and the suf- 
ferings of virtue in this world. Asaph was perplexed with 
this difficulty. But when he " went into the sanctuary of 
God," then were his fears removed. Then understood he 
the end of the wicked. Then, with devout and humble 
gratitude, his faith could lay hold of "the joy set before" 
the suffering child of God. Then could he feel that the 
" right hand " of paternal love upheld and guided afflicted 
saints to a glorious rest. And then he could but exclaim, in 
the fulness of his profoundly penitent and confiding heait, 
"thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward 



64 



Providence. 



receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? 
And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." 

2. The Bible uniformly teaches this doctrine. It would 
be impracticable, and it is unnecessary, on this occasion, to 
repeat all the passages of scripture relating to this subject. 
It may, however, be remarked, that events both oidinary and 
extraordinary, are in the word of God ascribed to divine 
providence. 

The sun rises and sets in accordance with what are called 
the laws of nature ; but it is God who " maketh his sun to 
rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the 
just and on the unjust." Both life and death occur in the 
common course of things, yet God says, " I kill and I make 
alive, I wound and I heal." " In him we live, and move, 
and have our being." The rise and fall of empires can 
generally be traced to the necessities, the passions, and the 
vices of mankind. Their rise and their decline are ordered 
by Jehovah. The history of Egypt, and of the Jews, and 
neighboring nations, illustrates the truth of this remark. To 
God are kings indebted for their thrones, and by his hand are 
they thrust down. " He putteth down one and setteth up 
another." The teaching of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as 
recorded in the 6th chapter of Matthew, is full and explicit 
upon this point, and nothing more is needed, than to refer to 
it, to sustain the position that ordinary events are, in the 
Bible, ascribed to the providence of God. To extraordinary 
events is assigned the same origin. The narrative of the 
wanderings of the patriarchs ; the preservation of the Jews 
in Egypt, their deliverance from their oppressors, settlement 
in Canaan, indeed, the whole history of this remarkable 
people, is but a record of the wonderful works of the God 
of providence. Miracles are manifestations of divine power, 
under the same all-wise direction. It is unnecessary in this 
connection, to descend to particular cases. But events, ordi- 
nary and extraordinary ', include the whole of the transact 
tions of our world ; and if both be under the control of 
providence, then is the doctrine which we have advanced 
true. 

3. Prophecy, in its utterance and fulfilment sustains the 
same doctrine. When events were predicted, the fulfilment 
of the piophecy must have depended upon, either a special 
interposition of divine power, or such a supervision of the 



Providence. 



course of events as to secure the predicted result. But in 
either case the hand of providence would be manifest.. In 
most prophecies, however, the events predicted are essential- 
ly dependent upon a long line of causes and effects strictly 
ordinary. They could not have been produced by an 
immediate exeition of divine power. Take, for illustration, 
the captivity of the Jews, and their liberation by Cyrus. 
Their captivity depended upon their own decline in piety 
and virtue, and the gradually increased strength and ambi- 
tion of Assyria. Their liberation upon the natural decline 
and corruption of this latter monarchy, and the enlarged 
power and extended conquests of another dynasty. What 
innumerable influences, many of them too minute to be 
noticed even at the time, were here concerned? What 
could secure the co-operation and due effect of all these 
causes, and thus anticipate the result long before they trans- 
pired ? What, but the providence of God? And it is not 
unimportant to remark, that a series of prophecies is found 
in the Bible, commencing immediately after the fall of man, 
and extending to the end of time, embracing many of the 
leading events which have occurred, and which are to occur 
in the destiny of this world. Were not God the God of 
providence, these prophecies could not have been given. 
Were not his hand upon all the springs of action, they could 
not be fulfilled. 

4. The doctrine is proved by the duty of prayer. We 
are taught to pray. We are commanded and encouraged to 
pray. In prayer we ask for blessings, and for deliverance 
from evils, temporal and spiritual. Now every act of prayer 
supposes a divine providence. It is under the conviction 
that " the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his 
ears are open unto their prayers," that " we bow our knees 
before the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. " We 
seek for blessings, for health, peace, daily food. Why 
should we, if God do not control all the elements necessary 
to the bestowment of these blessings? We ask for spiritual 
mercies; why, unless God govern in the spiritual world ? 
Why beseech God to guard us from evil, unless he orders 
what shall be? 

The providence of God, it is sometimes said, is general, 
respecting only great events and distinguished persons. It 
is thought beneath the great God to notice trivial matters. 



66 



Providence. 



To this, in the language of a heathen philosopher, we might 
reply, " great things cannot be taken care of without taking 
care of small, and, in all cases, the greater any artist is, the 
more his skill and care appear in little as well as in great 
things." Let us not then conceive of God as worse than 
even mortal artists. 

This objection to^ a particular providence, originates in 
low and contracted views of the divine character. It im- 
plies, that providential government requires an effort of 
attention. It supposes a defect of knowledge in the Omnis- 
cient. It presumes, that to God, some beings and events 
are more important than others, a supposition entirely inap- 
plicable to him to whom all things are infinitely impor- 
tant. It is as great condescension in God to notice an arch- 
angel, as the mote that floats upon the breeze of summer. 
He " humbleth himself to behold the things that are in 
heaven, and in the earth." And after all, what events are 
unimportant? Who does not know that the greatest revolu- 
tions have arisen from causes, seemingly, the most trivial? 
How often, in ancient times, did the appearance of the 
entrails of a beast decide the march of armies, and the fate 
of empires? The life of Mahomet was preserved by a 
spider's web. By preventing Oliver Cromwell, then an 
obscure individual, from embarking, an exile from his 
native land, for America, Charles the 1st lost his crown and 
his head. And to the same act may be traced that mighty 
revolution, which placed the Protector upon the throne of 
England, and affected the condition of the whole civilized 
world. There is, perhaps, nothing unimportant; nothing, 
but is concerned, remotely or immediately in the production 
of every thing important. And were the smallest link in 
the great chain of cause and effect taken away, or in the 
slightest degree altered, it may be, that consequences would 
follow, at which all intelligent creatures would be struck 
with horror. Each being in this vast world, is the centre of 
an influence ramifying throughout the whole range of con- 
nected being. He is what he is through the influence of 
others, and to those yet to come he shall be the medium of 
union with all that is past. Any man who will reflect, must 
be convinced, that whatever he may now be, his character 
and condition have been materially shaped by those of his 
progenitors and ethers with whom he has been connected. 



Providence. 



67 



A difference in them would have made a difference in him. 
Nor is this obvious connection the only one of which we 
have plain indications. To what christian has not the histo- 
ry of Abraham, of Jacob, of Joseph, been an incentive to 
faith, to prayer, to steadfast integrity? To the end of time, 
and forever, many a heart will glow with pious emotion over 
the simple annals of the poor. Angels are interested in the 
concerns of earth. The conversion of a sinner imparts new 
melody to the harps of heaven. To use the language of a 
distinguished writer, " the same law of interminable con- 
nection, a law of moral gravitation, stretches far beyond the 
limits of the human family, and actually holds in unison the 
great community of intelligent beings." l\ow this univer- 
sality of influence makes it indispensable that there be a 
particular providence , shaping the course of each individual 
with a view to the whole. Let us illustrate by a single case. 
The greatest event which ever transpired in this world, the 
manifestation of the Christ, depended upon the marriage of 
Boaz to Ruth ! Upon the determination, so beautifully ex- 
pressed by the affectionate Moabitess, " whither thou goest, 
I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people 
shall be my people; and thy God, my God," depended the 
salvation of the world ! and this again, upon the education 
of Ruth. 

Every argument adduced, sustains the doctrine of a par- 
ticular providence. The character of God establishes it 
We can conceive of no reason why he should exercise a 
providence, that does not equally involve its extension to all 
things. An imperfect government is inconsistent with the 
perfection of his nature; but a partial government, one 
that overlooked some things and excluded others, would be 
imperfect. The constant representations of scripture, pro- 
phecy, prayer, each of these requires a particular providence. 

An observation of the course of events may strengthen 
our conviction of the truth of this doctrine. "A man's 
heart deviseth his ways, but the Lord directeth his steps." 
Who is in just the condition he would choose? How many 
are constantly struggling in vain against what they deem 
adverse fortune How often too, have we known instances 
of preservation in danger, and deliverance from peril, where 
all hope of escape had fled. There is not, perhaps, a 
reflecting person but has exclaimed, 



63 



Providence. 



" There is a Providence that shapes our ends, 
Rough-hew them how we will." 

Instances, too, are not wanting, in which somewhat of 
retributive justice is manifest in the course of human affairs. 
We speak not now of such punishment of crime, nor 
rewarding of virtue as is common. These are under the 
divine supervision, but they occur as matters of course. 
This, we know, is not the state of retribution. But there 
are instances in which the greatly wicked have been stricken 
down in the height of their daring impiety, like the oak 
scathed and blasted by heaven's bolt, and we have felt, " the 
Lord hath done it." There are cases in which distinguished 
piety has been specially rewarded in such a manner as to 
show the hand of God. As an example of the former, may 
he mentioned, the honible death of Herod; of the latter, 
the preservation of Paul amidst all the dangers of his peril- 
ous voyage. 

Ill, We are new to consider some of the abuses to ivhich 
this doctrine is liable, and some of the benefits resulting 
from a right belief of it. 

There is no truth that is not liable to abuse. The mind 
and heart of depraved man, may, like the stomach of the 
dyspeptic, convert into poison the most wholesome nutiiment. 
All the doctrines which relate to the sovereignty of God, if 
improperly believed, or erroneously construed, must prove 
injurious. Yet, to say the least, it is questionable whether 
more injury has resulted from the abuse of such doctrines, 
than from that of those relating to the agency and accounta- 
bility of man. Divine truth, as exhibited in the scriptures, 
is a seal, having piety in perfect proportions engraved thereon. 
Impressed upon the soul, it leaves a lovely image. When- 
ever men attempt to improve this seal, they destroy the 
beauty of the impression. 

The doctrine of providence may be perverted to nourish 
a blind enthusiasm, and also, a spirit of aniinomian impiety. 

1. The doctrine may be used to nourish a spirit of en- 
thusiasm. The events of life consist of those which follow 
in the ordinary course of things, and of such as are fortui- 
tous. The words chance, fortune, accident, are really inap- 
plicable to any events. Those which are so designated, 
equally with those that result from obvious arrangement, are 



Providence. 



69 



ordered by the providence of God. To us they are fortui- 
tous ; to God they are certain, A man believing this, and 
supposing himself a peculiar favorite of heaven, may come 
to expect, and to rely upon unanticipated turns of provi- 
dence, to the neglect of prudent forecast, and just attention 
to ordinary duties. Such reliance will be considered, by the 
subject of it, as the result of great faith in God ; and in 
order to give free scope for its exercise, duties will be 
neglected, enterprises undertaken without due reflection and 
preparation, and all the ordinary means of usefulness over- 
looked. Every passage of the Bible which promises the 
protection and blessing of God to those who trust in him, 
will be appealed to, to justify the infatuation ; every instance 
of remarkable interposition, will be relied upon to strengthen 
the delusion. That such a course must enfeeble the mind 
and pervert the heart, cannot be doubted. Success, instead 
of inspiring humble gratitude, will produce spiritual pride; 
and when, as must generally be the case, disappointment 
ensues, instead of pious resignation, fretful repining will 
result. Eventually, the man who is under the guidance of 
this spirit, must sink into a morbid melancholy, destructive 
both to happiness and to usefulness. The course of provi- 
dence is so uniform, as to ensure disappointment to him who 
does not well consider his ends and his means. Fortuitous 
occurrences are sufficiently frequent, to teach us that " it is 
not in man that walketh to direct his steps." By the one 
class of events, we are taught to exercise our reason in the 
direction of our life ; by the other, we are forcibly reminded 
of our dependence upon God. 

2. The doctrine of providence may be perverted to 
nourish an antinomian spirit. " What is to be, will be," is 
the aphorism of the antinomian. It is not often the case 
that this spirit is indulged, in reference to the affairs of the 
present life. In these its advocates feel too eager an interest, 
to trust to their doctrine of divine providence. They labor 
as assiduously, and watch as anxiously for their temporal 
interests, as if they believed their fortune to be in their own 
hands. Should not this fact convince them, that they per- 
vert the doctrine as they apply it to spiritual concerns? But 
alas ! here is an apathy that cannot be roused ; a heartless- 
ness that cannot be affected ! Reason pleads, conscience 
remonstrates, the venomed fang of remorse fastens upon 
Vol. V— 10. 



TO 



Providence, 



the heart, and for a time, they writhe and groan ! But they 
have only (o reflect, « what is to be, will be," and reason is 
silenced, conscience seared as with a hot iron, recoils, and 
they fall again into the death-like stupor of sin ! With such 
persons it is, perhaps., needless to reason. But we beg them 
to reflect. How does Jehovah exercise his sovereignty in 
providence ? Is it with us, or without us ? Is it through 
us, or upon us? No man can. for a moment, attend to the 
instructions of the word of God, or reflect upon what is 
every day passing within and around him, without feeling 
convinced that men are materially concerned in producing 
the good or ill fortune, both of themselves and of others, not 
only for time, but also for eternity. 

It is the part of intelligence to adopt means to ends. This 
is done by the supreme intelligence, in the government of 
providence. Physical laws control the material, and moral 
laws the spiritual part of this empire. To secure any 
object contemplated, in either department, you are required 
to exert, in conformity with these laws, your powers to that 
intent. In either department, if you do your duty, you will 
be blessed, if you neglect it you will be injured. If you 
till the earth you will make a crop. If you are idle, and 
neglect to do so, you will not. If you repent and believe 
the gospel, you will be saved. If you remain impenitent, 
you will be lost. 

Nothing is clearer, than that the sovereignty of God does 
not conflict with freedom of thought and action in man. 
Every man is conscious of possessing such freedom. The 
word of God declares it to belong to man. We may specu- 
late upon this subject until we are lost in the mazes of our 
own minds. But two facts meet us at every turn. God is 
a sovereign^ and man a dependent voluntary agent. How 
the divine causation is exerted, either in the growth of a 
spire of grass, the revolutions of planets, or the action of 
intelligent beings, we are utterly unable to comprehend. 
Many fruitless attempts have been made to explain the 
manner of this influence. But why should men seek to 
fathom unsearchable depths? Why attempt to "find out 
God." The fact that God does overrule and control all 
things, both reason and the scriptures fully establish ; and 
that in this control no violence is done to the nature of any 
beings is equally evident. We have to do only with these 



Providence. 



71 



facts, and the duties resulting from them. Let us then, 
while we reverently confide in divine providence, diligently 
discharge every duty. 

2. Let us attend to some of the benefits of this doctrine. 

1. It is well suited to enhance our conceptions of the 
character of God. What infinite wisdom is displayed in the 
government of the universe ! What order and harmony in 
the material world ! Think for one moment of the myriads 
of conflicting and antagonist elements of which it is com- 
posed, controled by the wisdom and power of God, so as to 
secure the order, harmony and beauty of this vast empire. 
And human society, how apparently chaotic and turbulent! 
But amidst all this confusion and violence, all is order and 
concord in the divine administration. Do nations heave 
with dread commotion ? He " stilleth the tumult of the 
people." Do men attempt to thwart his purposes? Even 
" the wrath of man shall praise him, and the remainder of 
wrath he will restrain." " O the depth of the riches, both 
of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable 
are his judgments and his ways past finding out!" And 
when we reflect upon the effect of providence in the conser- 
vation of the happiness of the world, can we but adore the 
goodness of the Lord? How soon would the unhallowed 
passions of man obliterate every vestige of peace and quiet- 
ness from earth ; how soon would the raging elements of 
destruction, sweep with the besom of desolation over the 
universe; did not God say, " hitherto shaltthou come, but no 
farther." " O that men would praise the Lord for his good- 
ness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men ! " 

2. The doctrine is full of comfort to the christian, especi- 
ally in the hour of affliction. What is better suited to 
retain the mind in calm tranquility, than the reflection, that 
all things are under the direction of our heavenly Father ? 
We know not what shall be ; but we know him who hath 
said, " all things work together for good to them that love 
God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." 
Why, then, should we fear ? Why should we be troubled 
for the future ? Whether life or death, whether prosperity 
or adversity, whether days of pleasantness or nights of afflic- 
tion await us, all is arranged by infinite wisdom and good- 
ness, all is under the guidance of a father's love. 

And when affliction comes, how well calculated is this 



72 



Providence. 



reflection to support and console the child of God. "Many 
are the afflictions of the righteous." Sin has made our world 
a Bochim. Christians, like others, are liable to suffer; and 
the refining and elevating influence of the gospel, as it 
strengthens all the better feelings of the heart, renders them 
more susceptible of anguish from various calamities, than 
those yet under the dominion of sin. But in confidence in 
the God of providence, they have an antidote to the pains 
of the heart. Sine of his kindness, they can confide in his 
wisdom. And while the big tear is upon their cheek, and 
the bosom is heaving with strong emotion, they can say, 
" the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be 
the name of the Lord ! " 

We, my brethren, are in a condition to realize the value 
of this truth. We are an afflicted people. Our brother, 
" with whom we have taken secret counsel and gone to the 
house of God," is no more! His unaffected piety, his ami- 
able kindness, his uniform devotion had endeared him to our 
hearts, and the broken voice of grieved affection cries out, 
u we are an afflicted people ! " How strong, how interesting 
the ties that have been severed ! Especially, how must you, 
brethren, the members of the churches to which he minis 
tered, feel this bereavement! It could not be, but that he 
was high in your confidence and love. Much had his love- 
ly piety and consistent and amiable deportment engaged 
your hearts. Prospects, for him of increasing usefulness, 
and for you, of enlarged enjoyment and profit, were spread 
out before you. But alas, they are blighted ! Fell disease 
has palsied the hand that was raised to guide, has hushed 
the voice that was wont to instruct and to cheer ! Burnly is 
dead ! Your gushing tears, your heaving bosoms tell that 
you are an afflicted people! And you, my sister, to whom 
our brother was united by earth's strongest ties, it needs not 
to look at those weeds of mourning, it needs not to hear 
that moan of suppressed anguish, it needs not to cast an eye 
to the trembling hand that encircles with convulsive feeling, 
the little fatherless ones at your side, to know that you are 
afflicted, deeply afflicted! Your husband is gone! Your 
children are fatherless! Yourself a widow! No, my sis- 
ter — your children are not fatherless — you are not a widow. 
God is their father ! He is your husband ! " I," he says, 
" am the father of the fatherless, and the husband of the 



Providence. 



73 



widow." He has taken your husband, but he has given 
you himself; and you may feel assured that he is with you. 
He who has said, " leave thy fatherless children, I will pre- 
serve them, and let thy widowstrust in me," will fulfill his 
promise. Confide in him. Commit yourself, your children, 
your all into his hands, and all will be well. 

3. This doctrine leads us to seek instruction from the 
events which are passing around us. So limited is our 
knowledge, so contracted the reach of our minds, that we 
are, not unfrequently, perplexed with what we call a myste- 
rious providence. Why, we ask, is it thus? Why are 
hopes so cherished, blighted just as they begin to be realized? 
Why are men of richest promise laid aside, just as unfolding 
usefulness has learned us how to estimate their worth? 
Few instances occur in which these inquiries more naturally 
arise, than in the present case. In brother Burnley were 
combined intellectual and moral qualities, fitting him to 
occupy a sphere of great and extended usefulness. He had 
adopted, and pursued with persevering diligence, a course of 
mental training, already developing its fruits in the influ- 
ence which he exerted, and promising for the future a rich 
harvest of good. Arrangements had been made, by which 
he would have been enabled to devote his whole energies to 
the ministry. But at this time, so full of hope, he was cut 
down ! Truly we may exclaim, " clouds and darkness are 
round about " the Lord ! 

But what is the mystery in this case? Is it that a man 
has died? Is it. that a christian, ripe for heaven, has been 
taken home? Is it that a faithful laborer, whose work is 
done, has heard his master say, " well done good and faith- 
ful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord ? " 

We err whenever we attempt to penetrate into the ultimate 
reasons of the divine government. There, all to us is mys- 
terious. We can never tell why one is taken and another 
left. All that is here permitted to us, is, with that confiding 
acquiescence which Jesus exemplified to say, " even so 
Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." But there is 
another point in reference to which we may profitably 
inquire — the light which providence thiows upon our duty. 
Allow us to specify some of the instructions to be derived 
from the event which has called us together. 

1. We are taught our dependence upon God. We know 



n 



Providence, 



not, brethren, whether you had special need of this lesson, 
But the event, in a solemn and impressive manner, illus- 
trates the little dependence that can be placed in human 
instruments to advance and sustain the cause of God. And 
it may be for the very purpose of continually keeping before 
the mind of the church her dependence upon himself, that 
divine Being so frequently takes from her those who seem 
as " oaks of Bashan," in the very strength of their prime. 
"What is man, whose breath is in his nostrils?" God, 
while he chooses to work through us, keeps us in this world; 
but he is not dependent upon our aid, and can lay us aside 
whenever it pleaseth him. 

A firm and practical sense of our dependence upon God, 
is of great importance to us, both as individuals and as 
churches. It is necessary to humble us. Yain man is 
disposed to be proud, and, like ancient Israel, to forget the 
hand that nourishes, the God that sustains him. How little 
such a state of feeling becomes our condition, we need not 
be told. " God resisteth the proud, while he giveth grace to 
the humble ; 99 and to prepare his people for this grace, he, 
in his providence, takes from them that wherein they trust; 
shows them the insufficiency of all other objects of reliance, 
that they may take himself for their refuge and their rock. 
Such a sense of dependence upon God, is no less necessary 
to encourage than to humble. Here we have an unfailing 
support. Ministers may die, but Jesus lives. Friends may 
forsake, but " there is a friend that sticketh closer than a 
brother. 5 ' Obstacles insuperable to human aid may oppose, 
but " if God be for us who can be against us." Calamities 
numerous and severe, may assail us ; our sky may be over- 
cast with darkness and tempest ; but, confiding in God, we 
can still adopt the language of Habakkuk, " although the 
fig tree shall not blossom, neither fruit be on the vines ; the 
labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no 
meat ; the flock shall be cut orT from the fold, and there 
shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will I rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation." 

2. We are taught the importance of faithfulness and dili- 
gence in our chiistian profession. God condescends to use 
us as instruments for the accomplishing of his purposes. 
He will use us whether we consent to it or not. But if we 
are unfaithful and slothful, the use which he will make of 



Providence. 



75 



us, will be, though to his glory, to our disgrace and ruin. 
On the contrary, if we be willing and obedient co-workers 
with him, he will honor and bless us. How long we shall 
be permitted to labor in this world, we cannot tell. Our 
brother was younger than many who are here assembled. 
O let us improve the present moment " Watch, for ye 
know not the hour when the Son of Man cometh." Is it 
not desirable to be prepared for his coming? Is it not desi- 
rable in the dread hour of death to feel, that 

" Jesus can make a dying bed. 
Feel soft as downy pillows are." 

You know, brethren, how calmly, and how full of hope 
our brother died. Death found him not unprepared. Labo- 
rious, humble, confiding, devout in life, in death he was not 
dismayed. He gloried not in what he had done. He 
trusted not in his own righteousness. No ! Jesus was his 
trust. He said to him who now addresses you, but a day or 
two before his death, " that same gospel which I have 
preached to others, is my only hope ; and I feel that I want 
no other." But, had duty neglected, opportunities wasted, 
influence perverted, then risen up in his mind in dark arra}^ 
would they not have obscured the vision of faith, and chilled 
the confidence of hope ? 

Brethren, you are warned by this solemn event to awake 
to your responsibilities and privileges. How soon you may 
die ! How awful to be unprepared when called ! Now is 
your time for preparation. To-morrow you may be in eter- 
nity. Paul appears to have had his eye ever fixed upon the 
end of his course. He wanted to be always ready to die. 
He lived every day with his end before him. Hence, when 
about to depart, he could say, " I have fought a good fight, 
I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : henceforth 
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the 
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day." How 
much a kindred spirit animated our departed brother, you 
well know. And now, from on high, pointing to the daz- 
zling crown that encircles his brow, he calls upon you, " for- 
getting the things that are behind and reaching fotlh to those 
that are before, to press toward the mark for the prize of the 
high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

3. Unconverted friends, this providence has a voice for 

to 



76 



Providence — An Extract. 



you. It says, you too must die ! And as from the tomb of 
your departed pastor, it warns you of your danger. No 
more will he address you. Never again will that soft eye 
melt with tears of compassion over you. Never will that 
mild voice, eloquent with deep sympathy for your souls, 
again warn, and expostulate, and invite. No, no more ! 
He is gone ! You are hastening to follow ! At the judg- 
ment seat of Christ you will meet him ! Ah ! shall he then 
be forced to say, u there is one that 1 warned and invited in 
vain ! " No, my friends! improve this solemn event! Heed 
this awakening call ! Seize the passing opportunity ! repent 
and live ! 

PROVIDENCE — AN EXTRACT. 
There are multitudes of other and of similar arguments, 
abundantly confirming this doctrine. The formation and 
adjustment of our physical frame; the surprising and unex- 
pected turns often given to the revolutions and changes of 
states and empires, which are frequently such as to astonish, 
and confound, and baffle, the wisest statesmen ; the strange 
and unexpected discoveries of long hidden crimes; the visi- 
ble judgments of heaven sometimes overtaking the guilty 
even in this world ; the whole history of discoveries and 
inventions; the numberless and striking fulfillments of pro- 
phecy in every age ; and the private experience of many an 
individual: these are but a few of the many sources of 
argument for a particular providence, — but a few of the 
many things in which we may discern the presence of an 
almighty, and uncreated, and unseen hand. They all furnish, 
in a greater or less degree, evidence of the reality and the 
nature of the ceaseless and universal providence of God. 
That providence is concerned with all the affairs of the 
universe, and is ever conversant with all their changes. 
From the tremblings of the earthquake that ingulfs king- 
doms, to the tremblings of the leaf which is fanned by the 
breeze ; from the falling of a world to the falling of a spar- 
row ; from the flight of an angel to the creeping of an insect; 
in all things its power is ever present, upholding all by its 
sustaining influence, and guiding all to the best and most 
glorious final results. Such is the doctrine of scripture, and 
of enlightened reason, — its truth being entirely confirmed by 
history, and by the otherwise inexplicable incidents of com- 
mon life. — Christian Spectator. 



THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. — No. III. 



THE OFFICE AND WORK OF A CHRISTIAN 
MINISTER. 

The christian ministry is an institution of Jesus Christ. 
This will be denied by none who seek instruction on this 
subject from the New Testament. 

It has been shown, in the first number of this series of 
articles on the christian ministry., that Chiist calls some of 
his servants to the work of the gospel ministry : that he 
moves the minds of some pious men to engage in the holy 
employment of preaching his gospel. It now becomes us 
to turn to the sacred pages, where the lamp of inspiration 
sheds the brightness of perfect day, and there learn to what 
particular office, to what important xoork Christ calls the 
gospel minister. 

The office to which Christ calls his ministers is that of 
teachers of his religion, as revealed in the Bible, to a world 
of sinners, that they might believe and be saved. 

Teaching is their appropriate business. Their work is to 
explain and enforce revealed truth, so that the meaning 
which God intends we should receive through the medium 
of revelation should be clearly understood. The manner of 
inculcating revealed truth is not always the same. It may 
be done in the Sabbath School lessons, in the family, or in 
the pulpit. A minister may be an evangelist, or a pastor of 
a church ; but wherever he is he is a teacher. Such 
were the apostles and primitive ministers. Acts v: 21. 
" They entered into the temple early in the morning and 
taught." Acts xi: 25. "Paul and Barnabas taught much 
people." Acts xx : 20. " I have showed you and have 
taught you publicly, and from house to house." 1 Tim. 
ii: 7. "I am a teacher of the gentiles." Eph. iv : 11. 

" He gave some pastors and teachers." 1 Tim. 

i ii : 2. "A bishop must be .... apt to teachP 2 Tim. 
ii : 2. " And the things that thou hast heard of me among 
many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, 
who shall be able to teach others also." There are other 
duties besides teaching, that devolve upon pastors or bishops 
of churches, such as ruling ; (Heb. xiii : 7, 17, 24,) taking 



10 The Office and Work of a Christian Minister. 



care of the. flock, (Acts xx : 28 ; 1 Peter v : 2, 3 ;) watch- 
ing for souls ; (Heb. xiii : 17;) feeding the flock; (1 Pet. 
v: 2;) and being an example to the flock of Christ; 
(I Tim. iv: 12 ;) but from none of these duties is teaching 
excluded, but rather implied. 

He who enters the christian ministry without a capacity 
to teach, without such information as is necessary to qualify 
him to teach, and without an intention to teach, has never 
deeply pondered the responsible office which he presumes to 
occupy. Who would undertake to practice medicine who 
never studied the healing art? Who would plead law who 
never studied law? Who would proffer his aid to conduct 
a benighted stranger through a road about which he had no 
distinct idea, and no light to throw upon the darkness? 
None, certainly, but the presumptuous. And shall a pro- 
fessed preacher of Christ's gospel presume to be a teacher 
before he has been taught himself? Surely this ought not to be. 

The subject of a gospel minister's teaching must be the 
word of God. "Preach the word," is God's command 
to his ministers. 2 Tim. iv : 2. 

The Bible, which is, or ought to be, the text book of every 
preacher, is made up of laws, doctrines, exhortations, 
promises, threatenings, ordinances, prophesies and history. 
Every part of this holy volume of instruction, must be so 
explained and illustrated that its truths shall be clearly un- 
derstood ; and so enforced by appeals to the heart and con- 
science of the hearer, that it shall accomplish the end for 
which God has blessed the world with his revealed will. 
Neither human reason, nor human philosophy, nor human 
tradilion can be substituted for Bible truth. Revealed truth 
must not be corrupted. All who preach the gospel should 
so discharge the duties of their office as to be able to say 
with the apostle Paul, " we are not as many who corrupt 
the word." 2 Cor. ii : 17. The word of God may be, and 
often has been corrupted " by attempting to attach a philo- 
sophical explanation to the facts of revelation, and making 
the theory as important as the facts: by attempting to ex- 
plain away the offensive points of revelation by the aid of 
philosophy : by attempting to make the facts of scripture 
accord with the prevalent notions of philosophy ; and by 
applying a mode of interpretation to the Bible which would 
fritter away its meaning and make it mean any thing or 
nothing at pleasure." 



The Office and Work of a Christian Minister, 1 1 



" Those who enlist as ambassadors in the service of 
Christ, are under indispensable obligations to preach it, 
without addition or dimunition, without adulteration or 
alloy. If they would be pure, at least, from the blood of all 
men, they must not shun to declare all the counsel of God. 
Acts xx : 27. Of course, they must receive and hold it all. 
They must be characterized by a steadfast orthodoxy ; an 
unflinching", unwavering soundness in the faith. 

The final salvation of sinners is or ought to be the object 
of every minister of Christ. He should set out to win souls. 
Prov. xvii : 30. He should desire and pray to God that sin- 
ners might be saved ; (Rom x : 1,) and should so preach, 
that should they believe and obey the truth which he 
preaches they would be saved. There are subordinate ends 
to be accomplished in preaching, such as the conviction of 
the mind, awakening concern, instructing and edifying the 
pious; but the final salvation of soul and body in heaven is 
the ultimate end of all the labor of the minister of Christ. 

Of all the employments to which Christ calls his disciples, 
there is none so dignified, important and, responsible as 
that to which he calls the ministers of the everlasting gospel. 

u The divine original of the christian ministry, has already 
opened a view of its dignity far above any earthly honor 
or elevation. The institution that was introduced into the 
world, and confirmed to the church, with such solemn pre- 
paration — that is conversant with the interests and entrusted 
with the charge of immortal souls — that is ordained as the 
main instrument for the renovation of the world, and the 
building up of the church, cannot be of inferior eminence. 
The office of fellow-worker with God, (1 Cor. iii : 9; 2 Cor. 
vi: 1,) would have been no mean honor to have conferred 
upon the angel nearest the everlasting throne. The dignity, 
however, of the sacred office belongs to a kingdom that 
cometh not with observation — "a kingdom not of this 
world." Luke xvii 20 ; John xviii : 36. It is distinguished 
therefore, not by the glitter of outward show, but by results 
connected with eternity, and productive in their present 
influence of happiness, far more solid and permanent than 
lies within the grasp of men to obtain or to communicale." 

That work must be dignified, that employs a redeemed 
rebel in the high and holy enterprize of advancing the 
Redeemer's kingdom. 

Who can help from recoiling from so exalted an office — 



12 The Office and Work of a Christian Minister. 



from handling such high and holy things ? " Wo is me," 
said one of old, in contrasting this honor with his personal 
meanness, u for I am undone ; for I am a man of unclean 
lips." Isa. vi : 5. " Unto me," said Paul, "who am less than 
the least of all saints, is this grace given, that 1 should preach 
among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." 
Eph. iii : 8. 

The work of the gospel minister is the most important in 
which either men or angels could be engaged. It is God's 
established method to bring lost sinners to Christ and heaven. 
u It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save 
them that believe." 1 Cor. i: 21. We know of no salva- 
tion where there is no knowledge of God's word, of Christ's 
salvation. " How then shall they call on him in whom 
they have not believed ? And how shall they believe on 
him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they 
hear without a preacher?" Rom. x: 14. The ministry 
of the word is " the first link of means in the chain of sal- 
vation, so that without it there would be no hearing of the 
word — no faith in the only Saviour — no calling upon his 
name — no salvation." The labors, the sacrifices and the 
sufferings of the apostles, furnish a most striking proof of 
the importance which they attached to the gospel ministry. 
Shall we value it of less importance than they did? Let 
our respect for God's institution influence us to answer no. 

The responsibility of the gospel minister's vocation is of 
crushing weight. The minister is entrusted with the word 
of God, and charged to preach it. 2 Tim. iv : 2. If he 
handle it deceitfully, or corrupt it, or neglect to preach it, he 
must answer it to God in the day of final retribution ! He 
is commanded to watch for souls: if he blindly lead the 
blind, they must both fall into the ditch. What grief must 
such an account give the unfaithful minister! Heb. xiii : 
17. a Unless the, grace cf God make an uncommon stretch 
to save " an unfaithful minister, his condition must be des- 
perate! His hope of heaven the most groundless." 

How many thousands take upon themselves this load of 
responsibility, without ever having thought of that fearful 
moment when they must meet God, and Christ, and his 
word, and their hearers, at the tribunal of their final Judge. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL. V. May, 1846. NO. 5. 



THE KNOWLEDGE AND DEFENCE OF ZION: 

A discourse by the Rev. Wm. Southwood, delivered at Sharon, King 
William, Va., on the occasion of the new Meeting-house being opened 
for divine worship, March 30th, 1845. Published by request. 



" A visible church without the Holy Spirit, may be compared to a hu- 
man body without a soul ; it is a mere lifeless corpse ; and a member of a 
Christian church, who is destitute of that Spirit, without which no man 
can call Jesus, Lord, (1 cor. xii : 3,) is only as a withered branch in the 
vine, or as a dead member which serves no useful purpose, but rather to 
the detriment of the body." — William Jones. 



Walk about Zion, go round about her ; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well 
her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generation following. 
For this God is our God for ever and ever : he will be our guide even unto death, 
Psalm xlviii : 13-14. 



God hatli always had a people in the world to whom he 
hath given exceeding great and precious promises ; (2 Pet 
i : 4,) and upon whom he hath bestowed the most remark- 
able institutions. He hath sent to them servants the most 
faithful, and competent to instruct them. The most signal 
deliverances have been vouchsafed to them; and miracles 
the most wonderful have been wrought in their behalf. He 
hath chastised them with the righteousness of a judge, and 
with the tenderness of a father : yet they rebelled more and 
more; and when under just condemnation, and ready to 
perish, being without strength, (Rom. v: 6,) he exhibited 
his love in the most conspicuous light, by giving his only 
begotten son, and in due time Christ died for the ungodly ; 
Vol. V.-ll. J * U 



78 The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 

(ibid,) thus opening to them infinite sources of happiness 
here, and eternal life in heaven. 

The sciiptures, throughout, exhibit the love of God to his 
church, in the most glowing terms. Zion, where the jew- 
ish temple stood, the type of the church of Christ, '^beauti- 
ful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion. 
(v: 2.) The Lord hath chosen Zion; he Imth desired it 
for his habitation. This is my rest forever ; here will I 
dwell. I will also clothe her priests with salvation ; and 
her saints shall shout for joy. Ps. cxxxii: 13, 14, 16. 
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the 
Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Is. 
lxii : 3. Hear also what the apostle says: Christ loved 
the church and gave himself for it, that he might present 
it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, 
or any such thing, but that it should be holy, and loithout 
blemish. Epistles v : 2. And that name, Sharon, by which 
you choose to be known as a congregation, a term prover- 
bial among the Jews for expressing a place of extraordinary 
beauty and fertility, is made use of by the Holy Spirit to rep- 
resent the safe and prosperous condition of the church. 
And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks. Is. lxv: 10. And 
that nothing should be wanting in fragrance or beauty, 
where Jesus feeds and protects his flocks; he says, I am 
the rose of Sharon. Song of Sol. ii: 1. Or if, as some 
say, the rose of Sharon signifies the bride, and not the bride- 
groom, the fragrance and beauty of that lovely flower well 
becomes that church which is washed and sanctified and 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit 
of our God. 1 Cor. vi: 11. 

While the prophet is extolling Mount Zion in a strain so 
beautiful as in this Psalm, we must, from many parts of it, 
see that the Holy Spirit means, chiefly, to draw attention to 
the gospel Zion, — the Zion of Jesus. For although David 
found favor before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for 
the God of Jacob : and Solomon built him a house ; how- 
beit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with 
hands, (Acts vii,) however magnificent, but lively stones 
built up a spiritual house (1 Pet. ii: 5,) upon the founda- 
tion of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself 
being the chief corner stone, (Bphes. ii: 20,) constitutes 
his temple to dwell in. The apostle addressing such, says : 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 79 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the 
spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Cor. iii: 16. In the 
eyes of every Jew, the temple at Jerusalem surpassed every 
other object for beauty and glory; and when they associated 
the splendid structure, with the solemn service performed in 
it, and the interesting relics it contained, it is by no means 
surprising that feelings of reverence and awe should have 
been excited. But it is the reflection of his own image that 
attracts the divine regard. The image of holiness drawn 
upon the heart renewed by grace, humbled on account of 
remaining corruption, emptied of all confidence in self, and 
dilating with love to Christ. For thus saith the high and 
lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, ivhose name is Holy ; / 
dwell in the high and holy place, ivith him also, that is 
of a contrite and humble spirit. I will lead him also and 
restore comforts unto him. Is. lxii. Compared with the 
glory of truth and the beauty of holiness, the most attractive 
or splendid objects of the world become gloomy and de- 
formed. The man possessing these shines brighter and 
brighter, and by the Holy Spirit is changed from glory to 
glory ; (2 Cor. iii: 18,) while these are like the flower of 
the grass which falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it 
perisheth. James i: 10,11. 

The church is not only the residence of God, and that 
which reflects the rays of his own holiness, and thus be- 
comes the light of the ivorld — and as a city set on a hill ; 
(Mat. v: 14,) but it has preserved the world from falling 
into destruction under the influence of that moral putrefac- 
tion which has taken possession of it. It is the salt of tho 
earth, (13 v.) Nor is this all. It is likewise an instrument 
intended for the discomfiture of satan, and the bringing of the 
whole family of man under the banner and discipline of 
Jesus Christ, as king in Zion. Fight the good fight of 
faith. 1 Tim. vi: 12. 

From the words of the text, I beg your attention while I 
speak of some of the important duties which are inseparably 
annexed to the privileges of a christian church, so far as 
they may be considered, without any manifest impropriety, 
from what is here written. 

Walk about Zion, and go round about her ; tell the 
towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her 
palaces, that he may tell it to the generation folloiving. 



SO The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



For this God is our God for ever and ever — he will be our 
guide even unto death. The whole christian church is 
to be engaged understanding^, watchfully, courageously, 
vigorously and benevolently, in defending and preserving 
the citadel of God and truth, according to its ancient form. 
Its plan is not to be enlarged. Its palaces are not to be in- 
creased. Its towers and bulwarks are to be preserved in 
their original and divine grandeur. To be counted, and 
noted, not amended and improved. 

Without going into an allegory on each of these terms, 
permit me to remark, that they may all be resolved into the 
doctrines, duties and privileges of a christian church. These 
doctrines are to be regarded as jewels of infinite value, and 
are therefore to be watched with the most unremitting vigi- 
lance, as well as taught with unwearied diligence. But in 
the propagation and the defence of truth, understanding is 
necessary; for how can one teach or defend any truth, or 
guard against error, and oppose it, without understanding 
that truth, and having some knowledge of error? And how 
shall we win souls over to us, and bring them into the im- 
pregnable Zion, without an unconquerable courage ; with- 
out an untiring vigor ; without the benevolence which is 
taught by Christ and his apostles; or without wisdom? We 
may bring the exterior man within the walls, by a thousand 
cunning stratagems, but wisdom is required to win the soul. 
These towers and bulwarks of Zion, as the doctrines of 
grace may be termed, have been much interfered with, and 
unhallowed hands have tried to modernise and remove some 
of the antiquated prominences, and reduce the whole to 
modern taste, and "just proportions;" while men, called 
ministers of Christ, have been made princes, and the pretend- 
ed followers of Him who had not where to lay his head, 
(Mat. viii: 20,) have had palaces erected for their dwellings; 
and Right Reverend, and Father in God, and Excellency, 
and Vicar of God upon earth, have been assumed by those 
who profess to teach that very word which forbids receiving 
honor one of another. John v: 44; Tim. iii : 15.) The 
Zion of Christianity, the pillar and ground of the truth, is 
the residence of its great King, who hath bound himself 
never to leave it. Lo, I am with you always. Mat. 
xxviii : 20. 

In taking notice of some of those truths which the citizens 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



Si 



of Zion are called upon to tell ; to mark ; to consider ; we 
shall mention that which refers to the person of Christ. 
Nothing can be more proper than that we should enquire 
into the character of him, who presents himself to our notice 
as a Saviour; and who calls upon us to commit to his hands, 
not merely our temporal interests, but our never dying souls 
also. And his servants who went before him, and those 
who followed after him, all agree in teaching us that he is 
worthy of divine honors; that our unlimited confidence, our 
highest praises, and our fervent prayers, are due to him; that 
he is God! — the mighty God, (Is. ix: 6,) says the prophet. 
He is over all, God blessed forever, (Rom. ix: 5,) says the 
apostle. He says himself, all men should honor the Son 
even as they honor the Father. John v: 23. If he is not 
the true God, then the whole system of revealed religion, as 
we term it, must be a gross imposition, a cunningly devised 
fable. (2 Pet. i: 16.) and we must be guilty of the hainous 
sin of idolatry. On the other hand, if we do not inform 
ourselves upon this subject, with all the means we have of in- 
formation, and neglect to pay that homage to him which he 
claims, we cut ourselves off from the benefits of his power 
and mercy; we willfully cast from us all the advantages of 
his atonement and intercession. We should not gaze upon 
this bulwark of Zion with a mental vacuity, or approach it 
with indifference, but mark it well! Tell it, as you count over 
the glories of our Zion, as the strong tower into which the 
righteous run and are safe. Prov. xviii: 10. The doctrine 
of the true and proper divinity of Christ, should neither be 
neglected in this place, nor tieated as an unprofitable specu- 
lation. But He should be made known, in the palaces of 
Zion, for a refuge. 

Christ is God's unspeakable gift, and he must be received 
just as he is given, which is, truly and properly, man, as the 
son of Mary — as truly as any other man which was ever 
born, — and then he is as truly God, as the Father himself is 
God. There is a greatness, and a glory in this gift of the 
Father, which infinitely surpassed] all understanding. Here, 
in this house, this sublime, this wonderful feature of the gos- 
pel, this foundation upon which eveiy tower and every bul- 
wark of Zion rests, must not only be clearly, constantly and 
faithfully portrayed by those who preach here, but you all to 
whom God in his providence had committed this house, (for 



82 The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 

committed to you, as a church, it is,) must examine it by the 
light of the bible, mark it well, and if there com,e any unto 
you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your 
house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him 
God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 3 John 10, 11. 

Then there is another gift — another unspeakable gift — 
the gift of the Father and of the Son, which must be kept 
perpetually in view by the citizens of Zion. This is the 
gift of the Holy Spirit — the abiding gift — the gift which 
Christ promised to send from the Father: — the comforter — 
the spirit of truth, (Johnx: iv,) who proceedeth from the 
Father and the Son; "who, with the Father and the Son 
together, is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the 
prophets." (Creed in the office of communion in the P. E. C.) 
The personality, the deity, and operations of the Holy Spirit, 
are no less fundamental parts of our holy religion, than the 
union of the deity and the manhood, in the constitution of 
our glorious Christ. The person and offices of each, is 
taught with equal plainness in the scriptures. 

Never was there such a discovery made of the benignity 
of heaven, as in the gospel of Jesus. There we are repre- 
sented as sunk beneath the possibility of effecting our own 
recovery; and there too we discover the arm which alone 
can reach and rescue us. The Son proceeds from the bosom 
of the Father, to redeem us by the sacrifice of himself; and 
the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, to 
strike off the fetters from Satan's captives — to take the prey 
from the mighty, (Is. xlix. 25,) and sanctify the ungodly; 
removing all pollution from the souls of believers, and fitting 
them for heaven, that they may appear there with the spot- 
less purity, and shine with the refulgent brightness of seraphs 
and angels before the throne of the Almighty. One might 
reasonably have expected, that a plan so benevolent as the 
gospel opens, and presented with such grace and condescen- 
sion, would have been received with open arms, wherever it 
was made known; and that transports of joy would have 
filled every heart when such tidings struck the ear as God 
so loved the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son 
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life, (John iii: 16;) and Christ Jesus is made of 
God unto us, xoisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification 
and redemption, (1 Cor. i: 30.) But instead of this intel- 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zio?i. 83 

ligence being gratefully and joyfully received, sinners have 
forged another gospel, (Gal. i: 6,) blotting out grace and 
proclaiming works! Thus they would rend or cast away 
the righteousness of Christ, and substitute their own. They 
would despise the Spirit's work, as the Spirit of truth, which 
alone can guide unto all truth, and stretch out an arm of 
flesh in contempt of his omnipotent power. While rebel- 
lion continues in this province of Jehovah, every soldier of 
the cross must be roused, and put on the whole armor of 
God, (Ephes. vi: 11,) tell the towers and mark well the 
bulwarks of Zion. The doctrines of the gospel should be 
examined and guarded with a care and vigilance, in propor- 
tion to their value and importance. 

God hath erected his towers in Zion, and established bul- 
warks round about her, and if we would glorify him, and 
become instrumental in saving sinners, with an everlasting 
salvation, (Is. xlv: 17,) we must do it in his way. Not by 
calling in human eloquence to fascinate the imagination, 
already prostituted to fine words ; nor proud reason to inform 
us as to the expediency and wisdom of the plan of that sal- 
vation which comes from the very fountain of all wisdom; 
lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 
What a striking contrast do the labors of St. Paul present to 
us, when compared with the course adopted by many who 
are called "ministers of the gospel," in this day of expe- 
diency and worldly conformity. The lust of the flesh, the 
lust of the eye, and the pride of life, too evidently shewing 
that their ruling motive is not the praise of the Father, but 
of the world. 1 John ii: 16. While he who determined 
not to know any thing, among the people, save Jesus Christ 
and him crucified, could also say, my speech and my preach- 
ing was not with enticing ivords of marts wisdom, but in 
demonstration of the Spirit and of power ; that your faith 
should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of 
God. 1 Cor. ii: 2, 4, 5. Christ crucified ; risen from the 
dead; and entered into heaven for us: — the power of God — 
the Spirit, shining upon the sinner's heart, to give him a 
saving knowledge of Christ, and to fit him for heaven, are 
the most prominent, and the most essential features of the 
gospel; and stated with the greatest plainness, simplicity and 
power, they serve for example and encouragement! 

Christ hath suffered, and entered into the holy place, not 



84 The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 

made with hands, (Heb. hrt) to advocate the merits of his 
own sacrifice in our behalf. And his intercession before the 
throne of the Father, is inseparably connected with the in- 
tercession of the Spirit, in its sanctifying and saving benefits 
upon sinners ; for without the work of the Spirit, the work 
of Christ will never be received by any one. The value of 
Christ's redemption ; and the design of the Father and the 
Son, respecting it; and the application of it for our benefit, 
are distinct things. The office of the Holy Spirit, in the 
scheme of salvation, is to take of the merits of Christ and show 
them to us. He shall glorify me, said our blessed Lord, 
for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 
All things that the Father hath are mine ; therefore said I, 
that he shall take of mine, and shew unto you. John xvi : 
14, 15. Thus, while Christ is negotiating for us before the 
Father, the Holy Spirit is negotiating for Christ with us. 
The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities — maketh intercession 
for the saints , according to the will of God. Rom. viii : 
26,27. 

To disregard the Holy Spirit and his work, is as destructive 
to the best interests of the church, and as fatal to the soul, 
as it is to be indifferent to the person and work of Christ. 
Nor should it ever be forgotten, that the restlessness of error 
never suffers itself to slumber upon its delusive couch, nor 
to be satisfied within its own specious tents. It is ever awake 
and active, doing more, however, by an insidious diplomacy 
than by an open aggressive warfare. It cannot now be said 
with the same force, as it has been said in many past peri- 
ods, that it is a day of rebuke and blasphemy. It is rather 
a day of peace; but then it is a peace resembling that which 
the crafty Gibeonites effected with the credulous and careless 
Israelites, and which was followed, be it remembered, by 
severe judgments. Compare Joshua ix with 2 Sam. xxi. 

If the towers and bulwarks of Zion now suffer, it is not 
by the battering rams of infidelity, or by the heavy ordnance 
of popery, but by the sappers and miners of another enemy. 
And through ignorance of the devices of the prince of dark 
ness, many of the friends of Zion are furnishing gabions and 
fascines for the cunning foe.* It is time to blow the trumpet 



*When besiegers approach a citadel, and the firing of the besieged be- 
comes dangerous, the besiegers dig a sap, or trench, and the gabions are 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



85 



of alarm, and a loud blast should be blown, for the deity and 
work of the Spirit, that beautiful tower, that strong bulwark 
of Zion, is much neglected. Permit me to say, that neither 
the person and work of Christ, nor of the Holy Spirit, may 
be classed amongst, unnecessary and unprofitable specula- 
tions ; they form the essential basis of Christianity, and the 
whole evangelical system rests upon them. Our present 
character as christians, and our eternal condition, depend 
upon our knowledge of, and our behavior towards, Christ 
and the Holy Spirit. There are a great variety of points on 
which good men may differ, without affecting their happi- 
ness or usefulness, or endangering their future eternal condi- 
tion. But where the gospel is preached, and this basis is 
not understood and confided in, there is neither safety nor 
evangelical goodness or happiness. 

There are other doctrines, besides those of which we have 
spoken, demanding our attention ; and while we may say 
that they are of lesser magnitude, and of inferior glory in 



wicker baskets, which are filled with earth ; and the fascines are faggots of 
sticks, tied in the middle, and at each end. By these, with the earth which 
is dug out, the parapets of trenches are made, to screen the men. Now 
there are not a few of the professed friends of Zion, who, though they 
would not be seen to discharge a single gun against her, even to wound a 
traitor, or to alarm and rouse a sleeper, within the walls, lest it might be 
esteemed discourteous : will run to the sappers, who are advancing trenches 
against her, and supply them with gabions and fascines to screen the foe 
from the well pointed gun directed against him, and then retire unobserved; 
or will obtain the character of a kind, and amiable, and liberal minded 
person, too generous to wound an enemy, and too much of a gentleman and 
a christian to wish the downfall even of the devil ! But who can become 
the apologist of error, or screen the propagator of it, in his active and sleep- 
less efforts, without being an enemy to truth ? It would be treason against 
the gospel, to afford some men opportunities to proclaim their pernicious 
doctrines, in houses over which we have any control. And I know not how 
to characterize the practice of protestants patronizing the schools of the 
papists! David, writing as the Spirit guided him, says : "Do not I hate 
them, O Lord ! that hate thee? And am not I grieved with them that rise 
up against thee ? I hate them with perfect hatred : I count them mine ene- 
mies." Ps. cxxxix: 21,22. Certainly some persons hate popery, when 
its purposes are fully developed, and she comes with the thunder of her 
artillery, and her instruments of cruelty, and the Pope's flag boldly thrown 
open to the breeze ! But popery in the trenches is no less dangerous ! And 
whether protestant or papal antichrist, it is equally subversive of Chris- 
tianity, and should be opposed by all the true followers of Jesus Christ. 

Ignorance and ambition are the parents of popery ; let us teach the peo- 
ple the difference between truth and error, between the pride of party and 
gospel obedience ; let us teach all the members of our churches, the value 
of truth, and popery will be exterminated. 

Vol. V.— 12 



86 The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



their very nature; still they demand our veneration, and call 
upon us to throw them open to the view of all, by removing 
every intervening object which would hide them from the 
sight of any, or cast them into the shade. In a city where 
the most beautiful specimens of architecture exist in the 
public edifices, but mercenary hands have obscured or hid 
them, by erecting other buildings for their own private emol- 
ument and gratification; lest those monuments of toil and 
strength, of wealth and benevolence, should become un- 
known and their uses unfelt, the citizens should throw open 
these edifices for the public benefit, and to the view of alL 
And it is the duty of all good men to watch with unwearied 
attention, and to put forth their utmost vigor in guarding and 
defending the towers and bulwarks of Zion, that their beau- 
ty may be seen, and their blessings felt. 

I can now only mention a few of these doctrines, rather 
than make them topics of discourse. The method of God's 
justifying grace — what it is — and how obtained — should be 
well considered. There is also the doctrine of sanctification, 
or personal holiness, which must never be slumbered over, 
but cultivated with great care, and regarded as that without 
which no man shall see the Lord. Heb. xii: 14. Intimate- 
ly connected with these, is faith, and the right use of the 
word of God. I will only detain you here, while I remark, 
that faith is an instrument, and an instrument only, by which 
blessings are received. That faith by which a sinner is jus- 
tified, and obtains peace wUh God, through our Lord Jesus 
Christ, (Rom. v: 1,) is divine in its origin, (but it is only an 
instrument,) and always rests upon the word of God, to 
which it is adapted in the divine economy, and the word to 
it. It is connected retrospectively with the regenerating 
grace of the Holy Spirit, and prospectively with his sancti- 
fying grace. It is most delightful to trace up all these, and 
glory too, to the love of a covenant God and Father. The 
"operation of the Spirit of God" upon the depraved heart of 
man, is free, being moved to it by nothing but love. When 
the Holy Spirit removes the film from the eye of the under- 
standing, and turns it inward upon a corrupt, heart, and up- 
ward to a crucified Jesus; and while he unfolds the pages of 
inspiration, and shines upon them, the most humbling views 
of self, and the most exalted apprehensions of the great Re- 
deemer, are received by the soul. Then philosophy is 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



87 



nothing; human reasoning is nothing; works do not weigh 
a feather; all imaginations are cast down, and every high 
thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, 
and every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience 
of Christ. 2 Cor. x : 5. 

You who have erected this house, and who compose the 
church which is to worship in it, will not only have to 
guard against its being opened for the diffusion of errors, 
fatal to the soul, and prejudicial to the spread of evangeli- 
cal truth, but you will also have to act as sentinels, to walk 
about Zion, — you must be active and useful in the church — 
and, as in a regiment, every soldier bears his part in the 
duty, so it must be here. Walking implies activity, and 
walking about Zion, seems to imply, that he who is thus 
employed is not ashamed of being seen while so engaged. 
If this direction should be literally applied, we cannot sup- 
pose that the duty would have been discharged by the Jews, 
if they occasionally went to the temple, and did no more ! 
And if applied to the gospel Zion, we do not come up to 
what is required of us, as the followers of Jesus, if we meet 
each other, on the important interests of religion, in the 
place of public worship only. There are cases, occurring 
constantly in the church, which require the watchfulness, 
the instruction, the counsel, the sympathy and the prayers, 
of one member for another. And while engaged in these 
offices, we may gather encouragement from the thought that 
our blessed Lord xoent about doing good. Acts x: 38. You 
may find much employment among each other, in offices of 
piety; employment in which you cannot engage, without 
deriving spiritual benefit yourselves, as well as doing good to 
others. 

It is painful, however, to see so many slumbering in 
Zion, instead of walking about here; and not a few appear 
to be fast asleep; and painful indeed it is to see the multi- 
tude upon whom the denunciation of the prophet must fall. 
Woe to them that are at ease in Zion. Amos vi : 1 . 

It is to be lamented that many give their assent to what 
they hear often repeated, and from various causes are im- 
pressed, to a certain degree, with what they see and hear, 
till they are induced to "profess religion/ 7 that they may 
associate themselves with their friends and companions al- 
ready in the church, or about to enter it, rather than from 



88 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



any examination of the truths upon which the true church 
is built, and a love of Jesus Christ. 

But whatever are the causes which operate in bringing 
persons into the church, it is the duty of every christian to 
weigh well what belongs to his character, as a believer, and 
to understand clearly and correctly the truths which are at 
once the strength and the beauty of the Zion of Jesus. 
This is implied in telling, marking well, and considering. 
Ample means are afforded us to prosecute the labor to which 
we are called, in the use of those figures, with the best hope 
of success. The holy scriptures contain all necessary know- 
ledge to guide us in every duty which we owe to God, to 
ourselves, or to our neighbor. There the doctrines, precepts 
and promises are exhibited in the most perfect order, and 
the most delightful harmony. By their light the good man 
will count over, consider and mark well the vital principles 
of divine truth; without which there can be no salvation 
for any man; and he will distinguish them from the more 
subordinate truths, which, though not essential to our safety, 
are nevertheless important to our peace and our present en- 
joyments; and also our consistency and usefulness in the 
church and in the world. And the holy scriptures are so 
well adapted by our heavenly Father, to our condition, that 
no obedient child will be at a loss to know, any more than 
backward to do his duty. He will understand their various 
structure and uses, and will delight in telling the towers, 
and marking well the bulwarks, and considering the palaces 
of Zion. 

As you have been permitted, under the good hand of 
God, to erect this neat, this well proportioned edifice, think 
of the united materials, the foundation upon which all rests, 
the windows which convey light within; let these speak to 
you! Let what you have here done, admonish you to con- 
tinue a compact, enlightened, spiritual edifice! 

You should zealously co-operate in every enterprize of 
christian benevolence, and if you are living stones you 
should not be loose stones, but cemented together by love, 
and you will prove a strong and a beautiful temple, in which 
Christ will delight to dwell, to give joy to your souls, and 
efficiency to your labors of love. And here will you suffer 
a word of exhortation? When you meet in a social way, 
never separate without reading the word of God, and prayer. 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 89 

And let those be special seasons of prayer for each other, 
and for the prosperity of your church, and blessings upon 
your pastor. And when a friend or a stranger rests under 
your roof for a night, suffer him not to retire to rest, or to 
partake of the provisions of your table in the morning, with- 
out letting him see and feel that you read the bible and pray 
in your family ! 

May I detain you for a moment on the words, tell it to 
the generation follov;ing9 It is said of the faith of Abel, 
of the sacrifice which he offered, and the death which he 
suffered, he being dead yet speaketh. Heb. xi: 4. And 
the daity sermons which some have lived, have been known 
and read of men (2 Cor. iii: 2,) from generation to genera- 
tion. May you all be such preachers! But the religious 
education of children may be enforced from these few words. 
When the Lord gave his law to Israel, he said: I command 
thee and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy 
life, therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your hearty 
and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, 
that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye 
shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when 
thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the 
ivay, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And 
thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, 
and upon thy gates, that your days may be multiplied, and 
the days of your children, fyc, §*c. See Deut. vi. and xi. 
But the Jews forgetting the spirit and design of these words 
the forms only were attended to, and which soon became 
matters of superstition and bigotry, instead of leading to 
knowledge and piety. And it is much to be feared 
that many zealous advocates of that excellent institu- 
tion, " the Sunday School," are influenced rather by 
fashion, or a superstitious attachment to the form of the in- 
stitution, than by an enlightened and pious desire that its 
original design should be accomplished. Otherwise, how 
has it become so common, that persons should make such 
sacrifices to teach that command of the decalogue which 
gives sanctity to the Sabbath, in the morning of the Lord's 
day, in the Sabbath School, and in the afternoon encourage 
their own children in turning the time, which the Lord com- 
mands to be kept holy, into visiting, frivolous and dissipat- 
ing practices, and all the various amusements in which they 



90 



The Knowledge and Defence of Zion. 



can engage, which childhood and youth enjoy and seek, 
where parental restraint does not interpose in behalf of 
a christian education. For that cannot be said to be a 
christian education, where the sacred character of the Lord's 
day is not taught and enforced. 

May the Sunday School here in this place become a bless- 
ing to the neighborhood; and may the heads of families 
who engage in it, with zeal and perseverance, never expose 
themselves to the charge of hypocrisy, or to the upbraidings 
of their own consciences as one is represented, saying: 
They made me keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vine- 
yard have I not kept. Cant, i: 6. 

Our responsibilities are great! The gospel is committed 
to us. We must understand it; and defend it; and teach 
it; and exhibit it in our lives as pictures, for many persons 
will look at those pictures, who will neither read the bible, 
nor listen to a discourse from the pulpit. We must open to 
the rising generation the great principles which lie hid, to 
the thoughtless, in the volume of inspiration. We must, 
by the application of this wonderful instrument, lift the 
heathen world from the corruption and darkness of idolatry 
into the light and holiness of evangelical truth. The obli- 
gations of the apostles to proclaim the gospel, now devolve 
upon the church; and we ought to feel the same responsibili- 
ty and solicitude for the extension of Christ's kingdom as 
Paul felt when he said : A dispensation of the gospel is 
committed to me ; — necessity is laid upon me ; — yea woe is 
unto me if I preach not the gospel. 1 Cor. ix: 16, 17. I 
will close with the words of Bishop Hall; from his sermon 
entitled " Divine Light and Reflections." 

" Christian hearers — think not that this light may be put 
off to public and eminent persons only. Each of you must 
shine too. If they be as cities upon a hill, the meanest of 
you must be as eottages in a valley; though not high built, 
yet wind-tight and water-tight. If they be beacons, you 
must be lanterns. Every one must both have a light of his 
own, and impart it to others. It is not a charge appropriated 
to public teachers, that the apostle gives to the Hebrews. 
Exhort one another daily {while it is called to-day ; lest any 
of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. 
hi: 13. Even the privatest person may shine forth in good 
counsel. He that is most obscure, may and must clo good 



The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 91 



works in his place, and improve his graces to other's good 
These, my beloved, are the light which we must both have 
and give. Not to have, were to have no fellowship with 
God : to have and not to give it, were to engross and mono- 
polize grace; which God cannot abide. Hath any of you 
knowledge? Let him communicate it, and light other's can- 
dle at his. Hath any man worldly riches? — To do good 
and distribute, forget not. Hath any man zeal? Zeal, I 
say, not fury, not frenzy: let him not glow only, but shine. 
Has any man true piety and devotion? let him, like a flam- 
ing brand, enkindle the next. Thus, thus shall we approve 
ourselves the sons of that infinite and communicative light. 
Thus shall we have fellowship with God, who is light; that, 
shining like him and from him here in grace, we may shine 
with him hereafter above in everlasting glory — which the 
same God grant to us, for the sake of the Son of his love, 
Jesus Christ the righteous: To whom, with thee, O God, 
the Father, and blessed Spirit, one infinite and incompre- 
hensible Lord, be given all praise, honor and glory, now and 
for ever. Amen." 



THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN 
MINISTRY : 

Annual Sermon before the Education Society of Kentucky, by Rev. W. F. 
Nelson, A. M., of Covington, Ky. 

m 

" I magnify mine office.'''' — Rom. xi : 13. 

The Christian Ministry, whether we regard the high 
source from which it emanates, — the awful responsibilities it 
assumes, — or the glorious rewards with which its ultimate 
success is crowned, justly deserves our highest veneration ; 
and we hesitate not to say, that the man who does not enter- 
tain exalted, and at times, almost overwhelming views of its 
responsibilities, gives conclusive evidence that he, at least, is 
not a suitable person to bear the vessels of the sanctuary. 

If clean hands and a pure heart, were indispensable quali- 
fications for an assistant in the old and shadowy temple wor- 
ship, how much more reasonably do we look for the highest 



92 The Importance of the Christian Ministry, 



endowments in one who is to bear the vessels of this spiritual 
temple, of which Jesus himself is the great high priest. 

We honor the man, therefore, who is an enthusiast in so 
noble, so glorious a cause, and who, like that great model 
of a christian minister, the author of our text, magnifies his 
office. 

It will therefore be our purpose, in the examination of 
this subject, to enquire how this result can be obtained; or, 
in other words, how the influence and dignity of the chris- 
tian ministry can be maintained and advanced? And we 
remark — 

I. This can be effected, by cherishing correct and ade- 
quate views of the real dignity and importance of the sacred 
office.* 

1. Look at its source. What does the proudest of earth's 
titled dignitaries, who sports his stars, his crosses and libbons 
with such pomp and circumstance; what does he, by that 
very display, but acknowledge supremacy and do homage to 
a superior, even among his own race, in the person of the 
monarch, — the man who has made him the thing of air he 
seems. But the christian minister accepts no earthly, perish- 
able title. He aspires not to the deceitful and meretricious 
distinctions which the instructions of his great Teacher have 
taught him to despise, and like him, therefore, he receives 
not honor from men. And although, to do them good, he 
cheerfully condescends to the lowest — the meanest of his 
fallen race; yet, when his authority is impugned, or his pre- 
rogative invaded, then, by the power of a living faith, that 
bears him aloft above their malice and their might, he can 
meet the fierce array of their terrors with unblanching cheek 
and unaverted eye; and even when summoning the might 
of their majesty, they attempt to bend or bind his free spirit 
to their dictates, he confidently appeals from their decision 
to the high court of heaven's chancery, and produces his 
commission, bearing the broad seal of Him who is King of 
Kings and Lord of Lords. There he stands among, yet 
above the monarchs of earth, an " ambassador of Christ" 
a legatee of the skies t ! 

2. But look again, at the design of the ministry. This 

*It was a quaint, but true remark of the excellent Whitfield, that a faith- 
ful, though obscure minister of the gospel, fighting the devil in his own 
parish, was a greater man than Julius Caesar, at the head of his legions. 



The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 93 



is nothing less than the deliverance of the whole race of 
man, from endless and intolerable woe, and their exaltation 
to joy, endless, unspeakable and full of glory — the utter 
discomfiture of all the arts of satan's malice, and the perfect 
accomplishment of all the grand and glorious designs of 
divine benevolence — the banishment of sin from the world, 
and the re-establishment of Jehovah upon the throne of 
universal dominion. 

A Talleyrand or a Metternich, placed in authority by his 
monarch, and yet, by the power of intellect alone, swaying 
the mind that elevated him, and by that influence, control- 
ling the destinies of nations, — is a spectacle justly claiming 
our admiration. 

A Demosthenes, Thundering in the Acropolis, now rous- 
ing to frenzy, and now soothing to peace, the susceptible 
minds of his countrymen, and by the power of his own un- 
aided genius, swaying at will the tumultuous passions of the 
Grecian Slate, is, whether we regard the man or his motives, 
his means or his aim, an object of deep, thrilling, sublime 
interest. 

An Alexander or a Buonaparte, by the terror of his name, 
and by the might of his embattled host, overturning and 
trampling under foot nations and empires; throwing all the 
discordant elements of society into chaos, and then, by their 
own matchless skill, pouring the oil of peace and submission 
upon the troubled waves of anarchy and misrule; is a scene, 
the contemplation of which, — while it may fill us with 
loathing of the unhallowed passions of the great master ma- 
gician of the pageant — at the same lime compels our admi- 
ration, and exalts our conceptions of the powers and capa- 
bilities of a single human mind, in collision with others. 

Turn now, and contemplate 'for a moment, the influence 
of mind upon matter. What more subtle and unstable than 
air? Yet mind can grasp that shadow, — aye, and hold it 
fast, and bind it to obedience, now crouching passive and 
harmless at the foot of man, and now darling away with 
lightning w 7 ing, subjugated and chained to his ponderous en- 
gines. Yes, mind can make it, at pleasue, the instrument 
of life or death; now devouring a needle or a nail, and now 
feeding the fires of the burning city. See that beam of light 
as it darts through yonder casement, — mind has given to 
each individual ray, as it glances from that speaking counte- 
Vol. V.— 13 



94 The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 



nance, a life, — an instinct and power, which shall transmit 
to the polished metal the impress of that touch, and thus, 
with a pencil faithful and unerring as truth, multiply and 
perpetuate the images of those loved and gone. 

Such is the varied and mighty power of that spirit which 
the inspiration, the in-breathing of the Almighty, hath 
given to man. The agent, — the possession of which exalts 
him so far above brute and inert matter, and gives him in 
the scale of being, a rank but little lower than the angels,— 
those bright and blessed spirits who throng eternally around 
the great ivhite throne of God. And yet, let us ever re- 
member, (and for this purpose have we alluded to it,) that 
same power perverted, abased and depraved, has cast him 
down from his glorious pre-eminence, and made him a fit 
companion for fiends and "aichangels ruined." Nor is this 
a possible result merely, for the eye of the christian as it 
glances abroad over this sin devastated province of God's em- 
pire, finds net here and there a solitary case, but evert/ mind, 
depraved and ruined by the awful ravages of sin, and doom- 
ed to writhe in intolerable, inextricable and eternal woe. 

Now, to this once glorious but doomed race, comes the 
herald of the cross, — the minister of reconciliation, to pro- 
claim deliverance to the captive grinding satan's piison 
house, — to break from his neck the iron bondage, and re- 
instate him in the favor of God ; pointing him through the 
blood of atonement, to a seat at the right hand of the Ma- 
jesty on high. He beholds man, steeped in crime, led a 
willing captive by the devil at his will, and rushing madly 
on from present calamities to a fate still more dreadful, — to 
endless misery, — to eternal death. Moved with compassion, 
like his master, he comes to a race that has defied the mercy 
and wisdom of its creator; that lias abused his goodness; has 
cast off, cast down and trampled under foot the authority and 
solemn sanctions of his law, and in its madness impugned the 
justice, imprecated the vengeance and defied the fierceness 
of the indignation and wrath of Almighty God. The glo- 
rious gospel of the blessed God takes its stand in (he dreadful 
breach, and stooping to the lowest depths of the abyss of 
human guilt and woe, it lays hold of the poor infatuated 
wretch, madly rushing on to irretrievable ruin, and rending 
the vail in which sin has enshrouded his understanding, re- 
veals to him the full extent of his wretchedness; then, when 



The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 95 



his fainting heart is just ready to sink under the crushing 
burden of its guilt and misery, it turns his despairing eye to 
calvary, — shews him there his incarnate cieator, bleeding, 
groaning, DYING for his rescue. And while thrs, all 
wrapped in amazement at the stupendous scene, the still 
small voice of God whispers in his ear, that peace speaking, 
life giving sentiment, God so loved the world, that he gave 
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him 
might not perish, but have everlasting life ; and as his soul 
drinks in the joyful sound, which like angel music thrills 
through his inmost soul, love, joy and peace spring up like 
a fountain of life in his heart. The spell of sin is broken, 
— the sting of death is taken away, and from that glad mo- 
ment begins the "life of God in the soul of man." Christ 
is formed in him the hope of glory. Life and bliss eternal 
are his, and fiom strength to strength he goes onward in his 
heavenly career. He learns, even while a pilgrim on earth, 
to cheer his heart by the prelude to that song — " Unto him 
that loved us and washed us in his own blood, and hath 
made us kings and priests unto God, to him be glory and 
dominion forever and ever." 

Such is the exalted aim of the gospel minister; to deliver 
the objects of his solicitude from a subjugation more galling 
and oppressive than the yoke of any human tyrant, and a 
doom more dreadful than the sentence of any earthly judge, 
and place him not merely among the honored ones of his 
fellows on earth, but to shine as the stars of the firmament, 
forever and ever. Not simply to emancipate immortal mind 
from the shackles of stupidity and superstition; but to launch 
it forth on that eternal career of improvement and investiga- 
tion, for which the great creator intended i( ; to vie with 
angels and seraphs in its ennobling study of the wonders 
and glories of its Almighty Cieator, while with those bright 
spirits for its fellow students, the universe for their text book, 
Jesus Messiah their great teacher, and eternity their term of 
study, they press onward, and still onward, toward the wis- 
dom of the eternal. 

Such is the design and general scope of the minister's la- 
bors, bringing him into contact with every variety of taste 
and condition, of feeling and disposition, which constitute 
the great mass of human kind. 

3. These duties, however, dividing themselves into those 



96 The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 



of the preacher, or evangelist, and pastor, deserve now a more 
particular notice. To be successful in the former of these 
offices, he must, from the store-house of a well furnished 
mind, bring forth things new and old, in such variety and so 
arranged, as to inform the understanding, convince the judg- 
ment, move the passions, awaken the conscience, and win 
the heart; and this course, moreover, is to be steadily pur- 
sued from week to week, throughout his whole life. 

To accomplish such important and varied ends therefore, 
it is not enough that his sermons be coldly, critically correct 
in doctrine and sentiment, they must also be richly fraught 
with important thought, clear and chaste in diction, pertinent 
and pointed in application ; in a word, his must be the " beat- 
en oil of the sanctuary." And how, I ask, can this be accom- 
plished, without intense , continued. patient toil; without the 
labor, the ''sweat of the soul?" That diamond that glitters 
upon the finger of beauty, or sparkles in the diadem of roy- 
alty, would be valueless for all purposes of ornament, but 
for the long and laborious polishing of the lapidary, which 
at length, by the incessant attrition of nothing less than its 
own adamant, calls out from the dull and unsightly mass, 
those dazzling beauties which are the admiration of every 
eye. 

But his labors as a preacher constitute but a small portion 
of his duties. It is rather by pastoral labor — by preaching 
the gospel daily, and from house to house, — that the seed of 
his Sabbath ministrations is to be watered and made produc- 
tive. This seems to be implied in the terms used to desig- 
nate the office, such as shepherd, overseer, watchman, stew- 
ard, devoting not a mere general superintendence, but an 
intimate acquaintance with their individual habits, character, 
state of heart, modes of thought and reasoning, and requiring 
a corresponding distribution to the necessities of each, and 
affording to the Sabbath ministrations directness, plainness, 
and adapledness to the peculiarities of our hearers. Thus, 
the truth will be not only heard, but felt and followed, and 
they themselves shielded from the ravages of heresy and 
schism. If, on the contrary, ihe flock be fed, — and it may 
be but scantily, — on the Sabbath only, and left alone during 
the week, what marvel if grievous wolves enter in among 
them, not sparing the flock. The pastoial work has been 
well defined as "the application of the pulpit ministry to 



The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 97 



the proper individualities of our own people." And how, 
let me ask, can this be accomplished, except by an intimate 
acquaintance with the tastes and tendencies of each. 

As a watchman, he must see that the purity of the church 
be not marred by unchristian tempers and practices, such as 
are found in every church, and which cannot be fully met 
from the pulpit, in their minute and diversified peculiarities, 
but require the affectionate private expostulations of the pas- 
tor. Searching out and reclaiming the sheep is noted by 
the Good Sheperd, our great model pastor, as the grand dis- 
tinction between himself and the hireling who neglects the 
pastoral care. Such was also the ministry of the apostles; 
of a Paul at Ephesus, who, duiing the three years of his 
labor among them, ceased not to warn every one of them 
day and night with tears, and the approving testimony of his 
conscience; on this point was his chief solace, while bend- 
ing under the ovei whelming weight of pastoral responsibility. 

Cares of affliction, also form no inconsiderable part of a 
faithful pastor's labor, requiring a combination of qualities 
no wheie else to be found — blending the tenderness of the 
parent with the severe faithfulness of the judge. Admitted, 
perhaps for the first, and it may be too the only time, within 
the hallowed influence of a family circle, which, had their 
sky remained cloudless, would have spurned his presence, 
he comes at the favored hour, when the fallow ground of the 
heart has been broken up by the ploughshare of divine visi- 
tation. Here, then, if the propitious moment be vigilantly 
and discreetly improved, the seeds of true piety may be scat- 
tered in a genial soil, which watered by "blest tears of soul- 
felt penitence," may produce "peaceable fruits of righteous- 
ness," in richest abundance. 

There is still, however, another class of important duties 
connected with the pastoral work. In almost every church 
there is a diversity of gifts to be elicited and fostered — gifts, 
which, by proper encouragement and careful tiaining, may 
become highly useful in the cause, but which, if neglected, 
will wither and die in oblivion. Such must be sought out 
and led forth to a preparation for the work to which God by 
his providence has called them. Thus shall we, besides 
praying the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth 
laborers into his harvest, perform our part of the work of 
supplying with laborers the moral vineyard of the Lord. 



98 The Importance of the Christian Ministry, 



Real worth is modest and retiring, — while zeal without 
knowledge is bold, noisy and obtrusive. The one wails in 
silence for the "word of the Lord" to come unto him, — the 
other cries with boasting Jehu, come see my zeal for the Lord 
of hosts. A man properly impressed with the responsibili- 
ties of the sacred office, would naturally shrink from observa- 
tion, and like Saul will often be found "hid among the 
stuff" of worldly employments, — while one who, like Ahi- 
maaz, the son of Zadok, would run before his tidings were 
ready, will thurst himself upon us crying, "put me I pray 
thee into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of 
bread." Let such, then, be but faithfully conversed with, 
and we shall generally find that a strong desire for this work 
has at sometime been felt, though now perhaps nearly 
smothered. Meet, then, his objections fairly, and answer 
them conclusively, as you generally may, for you will prob- 
ably find them begin and end with his own unworthiness 
and incompetency to discharge such high and holy duties. 
Such objections furnish their own best answer, by pointing 
to the dutyef commencing- immediately a course of intellec- 
tual and moral training for the work. 

Such then, in brief, are the duties of that christian minis- 
ter who would make full proof of his ministry, both as evan- 
gelist and pastor. The unbelieving are to be convinced of 
the reality of those things whereof we affirm. The hard- 
ened, stubborn sinner must be made to quail before the terrors 
of God's holy law. The careless aroused to a consciousness 
of the perils of that slippery place, on which he is so confi- 
dently sporting. The pharisaic moralist shaken from his 
sandy foundation of human sufficiency. The amiable sin- 
ner persuaded to view his real hideousness, in the mirror of 
gospel truth. The serious inquirer instructed relative to his 
duty and his destiny. The anxious soul uged to the great 
duty of immediate submission to Christ, and faith in his 
name. The perplexed extricated out of satan's toils. The 
despairing persuaded still to trust, even though clouds and 
darkness are round about the throne. The confident warn- 
ed, by a Peter's example, not to think more highly of him- 
self than he ought to think. The diffident encouraged by 
the willingness and ability of the Saviour, still to come unto 
him. The faithful cheered onward in his work, by the pros- 
pect of the joy that is set before him. The poor comforted by 



The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 99 



contemplating his condition, who for our sakes hecame poor. 
The backsliding reclaimed and led back to the fold of the 
good shepherd. The schismatic reproved and admonished 
to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. The 
errorist rebuked and restored to the old paths. The inno- 
vator checked by exhibiting the simplicity of the gospel 
scheme. 

Thus, in a word, he must be every man's fiiend — a gen- 
eral guide and counsellor — in all things, aliuays and every 
where, watching for souls as he that must give account. 

If, however, his responsibilities are thus overwhelming, his 
rewards are none the less glorious. For, besides sharing the 
glory of the great Captain of his salvation, he is assured that 
they which turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars 
in the firmament, forever and ever. 

Let us, then, contemplate the reward promised. As the 
work is most responsible and most ennobling, so the reward 
promised is priceless and glorious. The gigantic efforts 
sometimes put, forth to reach the bright goal of earthly ambi- 
tion, have already been noticed. Now, they do it to obtain 
a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. Our reward, 
my brethren, is not merely a transient meteor blaze of earthly 
renown — not the riches of an earthly inheritance — but eter- 
nal pre-eminence in that state of bliss to which it has been 
his steady aim to raise his fallen fellow- man ; — a seat of 
honor at the right hand of the Majesty on high-^a partner- 
ship in Messiah's throne. Rev. iii: 21. In a word, the high- 
est gift in the power of the infinite God to bestow on those 
whom he delights to honor, transcending the utmost power of 
human language to describe, or the human heart to conceive. 

II. Seek suitable qualifications for his work. Let him 
never rest satisfied with meagre, or even moderate attain- 
ments, but aim to become a "scribe well instructed," shew- 
ing himself "approved unto God," — not merely a workman 
who is not ashamed, of which class w T e have, alas, but too 
many who ought to be ashamed, — but " a workman that 
needeth not to be ashamed, always aiming at perfection, both 
in human and divine knowledge. Let him also never lose 
sight, for a moment, of the great truth, that this knowledge 
is progressive. Instead, therefore, of obstructing, let him aim 
to accelerate its march— to advance the standard of truth and 
excellence, ever pressing onward and upward, toward the 



100 The Importance of the Christian Ministry. 



bright goal of perfection. Let his eye, his ear and his heart, 
be ever open to instruction, and let him search for it as for 
hid treasure. Let him study nature in all her varied and 
simple beauty, unsophisticated by the rules of art. Let him 
take the lamp of science, and entering her secret laboratories, 
mark the wondrous process by which the various elements 
are prepared for future combination into the countless beau- 
tiful forms of animal, mineral and vegetable existence. Let 
him, moreover, read attentively that ever new and instruc- 
tive volume of living, acting human nature. In a word, 
every discovery in science,— every improvement of art, — 
every development in the great store-house of truth, — should 
be his, not to hoard, but to mould and use for God and his 
glory. Such views and efforts will induce, also, 

III. A corresponding deportment. A demeanor which, 
while it seeks by all practicable methods to conciliate, to be- 
come all things to all men, that w T e may by all means gain 
some, will, on the other hand, beget a seriousness which will 
seem to say to all, " 1 am about a great work; I cannot come 
down." With the paltry arts and intrigues sometimes so 
highly commended by wordly men, the ambassador of hea- 
ven has nothing to do. With an emphasis of meaning, he 
may say, with an ancient poet, I labor for immortality. Oh, 
were we but duly impressed with a just view of the tremen- 
dous consequences, for weal or woe, of even the minutest 
act of our lives, we should need no other consideration to in- 
duce us to magnify our office. 

IV. Finally: Let us endeavor to possess more fully, and 
exhibit more clearly, the character of our divine Master; cul- 
tivating more sedulously holiness of heart — simple faith in 
the promises of the gospel, and fervent aspirations after the 
full enjoyment of the influences of the Holy Spirit — the 
baptism of the Holy Ghost. Let the exhibition of a glorious 
Christ to the view, to the love, to the admiration of all, be 
the grand intention of our lives. — Christ, as a self-denying, 
laborious servant — Christ, as a meek and patient sufferer — 
Christ, as a mild, firm and faithful reprover— Christ, as a 
sympathizing and affectionate friend — Christ, as a firm and 
undaunted witness for truth, be kept constantly in the bright 
foreground of the canvass, for the admiration and imitation 
f a ll; — and thus we shall be enabled, by his grace, most 
successfully to magnify our office. 



THE 

BAPTIST PPEACHEK. 



VOL. V, June, 1846, NO, 6, 



JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED: 

A Sermon, by Rev. Edwin T. Winkler, of Columbus, Georgia. 

" And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came' not with excellency of speech, 
or of wisdom ; declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not 
to know anything among you t save Jesus Christ and him crucified. — 1 Cor. 
ii : 1, 2. 

To hold up the image of a dying Saviour to the world, 
is the great design of the christian ministry. Men have 
learned to expect it, and to wonder, and to censure, when 
objects of a less exalted character occupy the attention and 
the labors of an ambassador from God. But at the time 
when our text was written, the good tidings which it con- 
tains, must have excited as much of derision in the people 
to whom it was addressed as would be excited, were one 
at the present day to attempt to substitute in the place of the 
doctrines or ordinances of Christianity, the worship of 
Brahma, or the hideous rites of African idolatry. 

Our text was originally addressed to the people of Corinth, 
the wealthiest and most beautiful city of Greece. It is not 
to our purpose to expatiate upon the extent of that com- 
merce, which constituted Corinth a great treasure-house of 
nations, and made her merchants kings ; or upon that cul- 
ture which gave generals to head the armies of the repub- 
lics of Greece, or on that refinement which filled her streets 
and palaces with the choicest and most beautiful productions 
of art; but we would speak of her religion. It was the 
religion of their fathers, and therefore venerable; it was 
the religion of art, and therefore beautiful. The imagina- 
Vol. V— 14 



102 Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



tion regarding it, became entranced and lost in its exceeding 
loveliness. The reason, nicely scrutinizing it, on a sudden 
shrinks back, appalled from the presence, and by the fear 
of those awful beings, the objects of a people's admiration. 
For century after century, it had been interweaving the 
threads of its mythology among the fibres of the national 
heart. It was the theme of those popular ballads, that, 
more efficiently than laws, mould and determine public 
character. It had inspired those loftier poetic strains, which, 
requiring centuries for their production, never die, and never 
lose their influence. To a people, passionately fond of 
beauty, it had given streets adorned with colossal monu- 
ments, and religious emblems; and had thrown open tem- 
ples, in which the architect, and the painter, and the sculp- 
tor had combined to exhibit the beauty of classic taste, and 
upon which the merchant had lavished the treasures of com- 
mercial opulence. 

And when we remember that the Corinthians sung the 
poems which Homer sung; and admired the works which 
Phidias and Protogones wrought; that the sculptured majes- 
ty of Jupiter, hurling the thunder-bolt, and the Apollo 
touching his marble harp, towered from their temple pave- 
ments, and the pencilled loveliness of the sea-born Venus 
smiled on them from the temple walls ; that every grove, 
and spring, and mountain had its genius; that the stars were 
ruled by awful spirits, and the caves of the ocean inhabited 
by lovely shapes; and when we remember too, that all these 
forms of beauty and of awe were the offspring of their 
religion, we can readily imagine how it must have interwo- 
ven itself into the hopes and fears, the admiration and love, 
of this classic people. We can readily imagine with what 
a mixture of horror and disgust they saw the apostle attack- 
ing, beneath the very shadows of their gods, the religion of 
their fathers. A foreigner {a barbarian, as the Greeks 
termed him,) standing in the midst of the splendors of pa- 
ganism, assaulted the religion of poetry, and beauty, and 
art! 

The inimitable productions of the Grecian masters weie 
all around him, but he passed them coldly by. The pom- 
pous processions, and the Isthmean games, and the imposing 
ceremonies of paganism, would naturally have attracted the 
curiosity of a stranger, but they had no charms for him. 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



103 



The sophist reasoned in the groves and porticos, upon the 
principles of nature and philosophy, but the apostle paused 
neither to dispute with the sophist, nor to gain instruction 
from the lips of the philosopher. St. Paul was a man of 
refinement, and versed in Hebrew, and to a considerable ex- 
tent, in Grecian literature, but he looked upon the refine- 
ments of Corinth as vanities, and all that was imposing to 
the Grecian idolator, was to him but as the sounding brass 
and the tinkling cymbal. Pervaded by one great idea, ani- 
mated by one astonishing fact, he said nothing, heard 
nothing, cared for nothing, but what pertained to the great 
object of his mission and apostolic labors. For " I, brethren ? 
when I came unto you," he says, "came not with excel- 
lency of speech or of wisdom; declaring unto you the tes- 
timony of God. For I determined not to know anything 
among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified." 

It is utterly impossible for language to express the claims 
of Christianity, more forcibly and fully than they were ex- 
pressed under these circumstances by these words. It is as 
if the apostle had said: the religion of Jesus comprehends 
facts, and involves duties, compared with which, human 
enterprise and human thought, the accumulated wealth of 
centuries, and the grand intellectual and moral progress and 
works of a nation, sink into insignificance. I see the wings 
of your commerce, whitening the Mediterranean; I behold 
the labors of the husbandman, adorning your fields with 
nodding harvests; I see the immortal works of art, that 
beautify the streets and temples of your city; but they are 
to me as if they were not. Another subject, better and 
nobler, occupies my thoughts and inspires my actions; it is 
the religion, that, turning away from the marble and the 
canvass, from the altar and the temple, takes up its abode 
in the heart, even cf the humblest of men, and makes it 
the temple of the living God. It is the worship of a 
spiritual deity. It is the doctrine, that taking its place at 
the feet, looks upward ever to the countenance of Jesus, 
that surrounds with glory the cross on which they have cru- 
cified my Lord. And this religion is the one thing needful; 
this is the all in all. 

It is our design to present a hasty sketch of those promi- 
nent excellencies of Christianity, that warrant the use of 
such language, and the exercise of so intense and lofty an 



104 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



enthusiasm. We would remark, by way of division, that 
Christianity is surpassingly excellent, as a doctrinal and as a 
practical system — excellent in itself, and exhibiting its ex- 
cellence in the results which it has accomplished. It is 
equally worthy of admiration, whether we regard it as it 
rose at first in lofty beauty from the hands of its divine ori- 
ginal, or as in its progress, it spreads the rays of its celestial 
light down the long lapse of time. And 

I. Let us look at the excellency of Christianity in itself. 

Christianity, as it reveals itself to us in its glory and its 
humiliation on the cross, exhibits more clearly and fully the 
character of God. The nature and attributes of the Deity, 
had been already revealed in the Old Testament. But 
there was ever a cloud around them — a cloud, which was 
dispelled only by the work and the doctrine of Jesus. 

In the Old Testament, God's love to his creatures is dis- 
played. The Psalmist celebrates his loving kindness and 
tender mercy, and that ineffable goodness which supports 
and cherishes the varied forms of life inhabiting our globe. 
The writings of the prophets are not devoid of tender ex- 
postulations and melting entreaties. But the great attribute 
of God, which is prominently displayed in the whole Mosaic 
economy, the dispensation of the prophets, and the entire 
Jewish history, is his terrible majesty. The earliest chroni- 
cles of the human race bear its impress. A fearful curse 
descended upon the first man and woman, and rested like a 
blight and a mildew upon the beautiful world which had 
just been brought into being. Sinai with its lightening^ and 
its thunders took up the solemn theme; and the Jew, as he 
looked back to the time when the law was given, and the 
institutions of his people were established, beheld, rising 
like a pillar in the midst of the affrighted hosts, the fit* and 
the blackness that enveloped the awful presence of Jehovah. 
The Psalms exhibit God in his fearfulness; while the peo- 
ple to whom they were addressed, saw in the calamities that 
overwhelmed the hosts of their enemies, and learned by bit- 
ter experience, how fearful it was to excite the divine indig- 
nation. 

It was left to the New Testament to reveal in its fullness 
that attribute of God, which forms the closest and sweetest 
bond of union between the creator and his creatures. In 
the biith and death of Jesus, we behold its brightest exhibi- 



Jesus Christ arid him Crucified. 



105 



tions. From his lips and in his actions, we hear expressed 
and re-expressed, a thousand and a thousand times, God is 

LOVE. 

The other attributes of God render him an object of fear 
to us. God is holy, and we are sinful; God is just, and we 
are transgressors; God is omnipotent, he can destroy us; 
God is omniscient, our secret sins are bare before him; God 
is omnipresent, we cannot escape him : but God is love, and 
ive are his children! Transporting, rapturous thought! 
Had the religion of Jesus done no more for man. than make 
distinct to him this one great idea, it would have been enti- 
tled to our lasting admiration and regard. But it has done 
more than this. 

The New Testament has thrown light upon the destiny 
and the duty of man. It has taught us clearly, that we 
are immortal. Among the early institutions of the Jews, 
this doctrine lay concealed beneath cloudy allegories and 
symbols. It became more distinct, as the time approached 
for the birth of the Messiah. But it was left to Christianity 
to exhibit this truth fully and distinctly: it was left to Jesus 
to illustrate it by an ascension to heaven, after a resurrection 
from the dead. Four centuries before the coming of Christ, 
Plato had announced to the nations of paganism the immor- 
tality of the soul; but his opinions were enforced by such 
arguments, as were beyond the reach of the mass of man- 
kind; and this truth was rather the object of hope than of 
expectation. But Christ in his own person broke the bonds 
of death in sunder, and rose from the grave, leading captivi- 
ty captive. And now, to the soul secure in the favor of its 
God, death has lost its sting, and the grave its victory. 
Dreadful fears of annihilation, or of a doubtful hereafter, no 
longer dismay the spirit conscious of its immortality. Our 
Saviour has thrown the arch of promise across the dark 
stream of death; and hope stands beaming on his sepulchre, 
and pointing to his ascending Lord. 

Again, Christianity has revealed to us the way of salva- 
tion. And we may here remark, (and the fact, however 
simple and obvious, is one that we are prone to forget,) that 
the light which we possess on this subject, was not possessed 
before the coming of Christ. It is easy for the christian stu- 
dent to find among the instructions and forms of the old 
dispensation, the statement, or at least the traces of those 



106 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



doctrines and facts which are the characteristics of the new. 
And the reason is obvious. In the "person of Jesus Christ 
and him crucified, the mystery of godliness has been made 
manifest; and what was before ambiguous or entirely un- 
known, has been rendered distinct by the light of the glo- 
rious gospel of God's blessed son. And therefore, it is easy 
for us to see in both dispensations, "the parts of one stupen- 
dous whole," and in the cross of the dying Redeemer, the 
great central figure in the system of revealed truth. 

But it was otherwise to the Jew. Even Abraham, the 
man so highly distinguished by the divine favor, believed in 
God; and it was counted to him for righteousness. Even 
the disciples of the Saviour were so entirely unacquainted 
with the spiritual nature of the kingdom which he came to 
establish, and of the way of salvation which he came to 
open by the sacrifice of himself, that we find them disputing 
for pre-eminence in his earthly kingdom. 

It was the design of Christ in his coming and his work, 
to secure the possibility of man's salvation. For this, being 
rich, he became poor. For this, being the Lord of angels, 
he became the despised and the rejected of men. For this, 
publicans and sinners were not too low to be his compan- 
ions. For this, the phaiisees and spiritual lords of God's 
heritage were not too high nor too powerful to escape his re- 
bukes. For this he labored and suffered. In the prosecu- 
tion of this holy work, Jerusalem saw his tears, and the trees 
of Gethsemane bent over his midnight agony. For the 
accomplishment of this sublime design, the manger of Beth- 
lehem sustained his helpless infancy, and the accursed tree 
upheld the torture and the shame of his expiring manhood. 

The way of salvation has now been opened. God can 
be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. 
The poor of this world may become rich with an immortal 
inheritance. The afflicted mourner may be upheld by an 
everlasting arm. The heart which is full of depravity and 
corruptions, may become the temple of the Holy Spirit. He 
who despairs of earthly joy, may take to his bosom that hope 
which is as an anchor to the soul. He who trembles at the 
prospect of the grave, may follow the footsteps of Jesus, and 
go on exulting, to meet his Lord. 

The blessing is not only great, but it is broad and free. 
It was designed to be carried into all the world and offered 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



107 



to every creature. Wherever a single human heart is beat- 
ing, however low and degraded it may be, the gospel invita- 
tions are addressed to it. " The Spirit and the bride say 
come, and let him that heareth say come, and let him that 
is at hirst come, and whosoever will, let him come, and take 
of the wateis of life freely." 

What a boon is this! How immense — how surprising! 
What a world of priceless blessings surrounds the cross of 
Christ! In comparison with this, earthly honors are but 
baubles; earthly pleasures are but vanities; all other sub- 
jects of human thought — all other objects of human effort 
are truly insignificant. We wonder not that the apostle 
Paul, in the city of science and literature, in the circles of 
refinement and the schools of philosophy, determined to 
know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified. 

Again, we may withdraw our attention from Christianity 
as a gospel, and regard it as it is related to law. As a law, its 
requirements demand nothing less than perfect moral recti- 
tude. They condemn alike the bold blasphemer and the 
insiduous hypocrite. They spare neither the open sin, that 
startles society, or sweeps over it like a pestilence; nor the 
secret sin, that festers in the heart, and is wrought out in 
silence and solitude. No unkind or unworthy action is al- 
lowed to those who would embrace this holy faith. A dedi- 
cation of self to God, it claims no less than the devotion of 
a life time — than the surrender of every desire and thought, 
every passion and energy, to the will and the service of him 
whose cause it has espoused. And what a service! It is 
the beautiful homage of a grateful heart. It is willing obe- 
dience to a just and gracious monarch. It is childlike con- 
fidence in a father. It is reverence for the source of all wis- 
dom and excellence. 

These noble precepts Christianity shares in common with 
Judaism. It also inculcates the duty of universal love. It 
teaches men, that as inheriting a common destiny, bound to 
the same heaven or the same hell, the creatures of the same 
creator, the recipients of the same bounty, and alike the 
heirs of immortality, they should love one another. But 
Christianity has advanced even beyond this point. Centuries 
before Christ taught, a Grecian philosopher declared, that 
men ought not to revenge an insult; that they might be like 
the gods. This was the height of the religion of nature, 



108 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



But when Christ came, he taught — "love your enemies: do 
good to them that hate you, and despiiefully use you, and 
persecute you ; " and he himself, through a life of contumely 
and woe, caused by human hatred, has given us the most 
beautiful example of forgiveness of enemies that the world 
has ever witnessed. 

The arrangements made for securing human obedience 
also attract our admiration. The man who has enlisted in 
the service of God — who is truly born again, has entered into 
the sphere of the widest and most perfect liberty. Obedience 
is the offspring of love. He who loves, obeys spontaneous- 
ly; and in the christian's heart love to God is the supreme 
emotion. Not only the great aim of his life, but the ruling 
desire of his heart is to glorify God, and his aim must be ex- 
hibited in his actions. We do not say that the christian does 
not sin, nor that he does not sometimes feel the law of God 
to be hard; but this we do affirm, that whenever he sins, 
and whenever he feels the law of God to be a restriction, it 
is not because the love of God is in his heart, but because 
he still clings to something that is opposed to this sublimest 
of sentiments. But let the love be perfect, and' it will ex- 
hibit the fruits of spontaneous and perfect obedience. 

We might enlarge upon this portion of our subject. We 
might appropriately consider here the inimitable and perfect 
character of Christ, or the symmetry of the christian graces, 
or those great doctrines which are the foundations of the 
christian's hope. But we are compelled to forbear. Like 
the philosopher, we have gathered a few pebbles on the sea- 
shore, while the great ocean of truth lies unexplored be- 
fore us. 

II. We remark in the second place, that Christianity has 
demonstrated itself to be surpassingly excellent, by the re- 
sults which it has accomplished. 

The gospel was committed by the Saviour to the hands 
which seemed least able to sustain the precious charge. 
Gathered from the boats of the fisherman, and the stalls of 
the publican, — cherishing in their hearts, and heralding 
abroad a religion, diametrically opposed to the opinions and 
inclinations, and actions of the world, iheir labors seemed to 
be hopeless in the extreme. Armed only in the panoply of 
the Spirit, single-handed and alone, they went forth to en- 
gage in a contest with the universe. Shall we trace the 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



109 



progress of their cause from the planting of the seed in the 
cities of the East and West, until a mighty tree arose, bear- 
ing its thousand fruits, and stretching far and wide its shel- 
tering branches? They are the topics of history, with which 
we all are familiar. We know how men received the word, 
and how thickly converted souls gathered around the apos- 
tles, as the gems in the crown of their rejoicing. We know 
how the persecutions that threatened it, transformed the blood 
of the martyrs into the seed of the church. We have read, 
how vainly the potentates of the earth opposed it. We 
know how it passed from heart to heart, from house to 
house, from city to city, until it reached the hearts of kings, 
and became the religion of nations. It spread from Rome 
to her provinces. Barbarian hordes received it, and civiliza- 
tion, and the blessings of social life, followed in its train. 
Britain received it, and Britain became the mistress of the 
seas. It crossed the ocean, and entered the howling wilder- 
nesses of America, and America became a mighty nation. 

The sceptic may sneer at this proof, but it is no less true, 
and no less convincing. It is a startling, although univer- 
sally received fact, that where the christian religion is, there 
refinement and happiness are; and where the christian reli- 
gion is not, the people are enveloped in the grossest barbari- 
ty. And those nations which are the highest in point of 
intelligence, which have made the greatest progress in the 
arts and sciences, and in literature, which are the most pow- 
erful, the most wealthy and the most happy, are those in 
which Christianity is preserved in its greatest purity. 

The religion of Jesus has affected nations by affecting 
men. Entering as a fire in the midst of the corruptions of 
the human heart, it has purified and dissipated them. It 
has given man purer thoughts. It has excited more sublime 
desires. It has offered a realization to his loftiest hopes. It 
has afforded him an object of thought suited to the capaci- 
ties of an immortal being. It has therefore encouraged and 
accelerated the advance of his mind, and thus has indirect- 
ly, yet efficiently, surrounded his home with comforts, and 
blessed his country with refinement, and law, and liberty. 
It has made man noble, while it has made him happier. It 
has moulded the most excellent characters that the woild 
has ever seen. It has inspired the greatest self-denial, and 
the most generous acts. It has given freedom to the bur- 
15— Yol. V. 



110 



Jesus Christ and him Crucified. 



dened captive of sin; and has wakened the dead in in- 
iquity, to life, and light, and immortality. 

Friends and brethren, if the doctrine of the cross contains 
such sublimities and conveys such blessings, what claims 
has it upon our attention and our regard? In the decision 
of this question, we challenge the exercise of the most nice- 
ly discriminating judgment, and of the most frozen heart. 
Let the value of Christianity be regarded as a matter of 
rigid calculation, let it be computed and compared with the 
value of all earthly systems, and of all other objects of 
human thought; and let men act with regard to it only as 
rational beings, and there is not a voice on earth but would 
unite with that of the apostle, " Ye3, yes, hereafter we deter- 
mine to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified!" 

Brethren, you have learned by experience the value of 
this great lesson — the sweetness of this solemn truth. You 
have felt what a world of joy and peace, of hope and conso- 
lation, exists in the words, "Jesus Christ and him crucified. " 
Oh, may the impression that it has made, never be effaced 
from your minds. If ever earthly considerations would 
come between us and our God, let us remember the claims 
which the gospel has upon us. Let us remember that its 
claims are the greatest and most imperative of all claims, 
and that it comes to us recommended by the noblest of all 
motives. Let us remember that all things are as nothing in 
comparison with this. We may lose honors and sources of 
pleasure, we may lose friends, and possessions, and home, 
but if we possess the christian's hope, and are fellow-heirs 
of the Redeemer's kingdom, we are rich in our poverty. 
This world may surround us with its adulations and its 
prosperity, and all the sources of pleasure that wealth can 
command, may be at our disposal, but without a heavenly 
inheritance, we are poor indeed. Then let us banish from 
our hearts every object and desire that may come into com- 
petition with this sacred claim. Let us regard no pleasure 
as too exquisite to be sacrificed; no sacrifice as too great to 
be made, which is demanded by the holy cause which we 
have espoused. Let us labor to overcome every passion, to 
sanctify every thought. Let our desires aim at no less 
glorious an object than the confident persuasion that neither 
life, nor death, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things 
present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any 



Saving Knowledge of Christ. Ill 



other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of 
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Sinner, a parting word to you. You have listened to an 
imperfect representation of the excellency of the gospel. 
With its broad, free provisions, it is offered to your accept- 
ance. We beseech you to pause and consider. We 
beseech you to act in this matter with the consciousness that 
you are deciding upon the most important interest of your 
life. Oh, let not this offer pass by unheeded! You must 
confess that the great claims of the gospel upon you are 
just. You cannot refuse it the admiration of your under- 
standing, even while you deny its admission into your heart. 
Oh, now in the presence of the Almighty, throw open the 
portals of your heart and admit the blessed visitant. If you 
refuse, we are compelled in sorrow to warn you of the fear- 
ful consequences. We warn you that if you reject it, it 
will but add to your condemnation, that the claims of God's 
glorious gospel have been exhibited to you to-day. Oh, 
when this gospel is so exceedingly rich and precious, so ex- 
cellent and noble, how can you hope to escape if you neg- 
lect so great salvation! 

THE NATURE AND EXCELLENCY OF A SAVING 
KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST. 

A Sermon preached before the Rappahannock Association, in 1845, by 
Rev. R. H. Christian. 

"Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the know- 
ledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and 
do count them but dung that I may win Christ. — Phil, iii : 8. 

The epistle to the Philippians was written by the apostle 
Paul, while a prisoner at Rome. It was in reply to a com- 
munication which he had received from the church at Phil- 
ippi, by Epaphroditus, their messenger, and was designed, 
mainly, to comfoit the disciples, and caution them against 
the influence of false teachers. 

The Philippian brethren had, no doubt, felt and expressed 
much concern for the cause of their master, from the cir- 
cumstance that their spiritual father had been arrested, and 
was then in bonds on account of his religion. In the 1st 
chapter, the apostle evidently alludes to this, and endeavors 
to administer comfort, by assuring them that the things 



112 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



which they feared, so far from endangering the gospel, had 
actually turned out to its furtherance. That by means of 
his confinement at Rome, "his bonds in Christ Jesus, had 
been manifold in all the palace and in all other places;" 
that many of the brethren in the Lord had waxed confident 
in consequence of his bonds; whilst others had been in- 
duced to preach Christ out of envy and strife. He also re- 
fers them to the fact that it was God who had commenced a 
good work in them, and that, as it was his cause, they need 
not fear. 

After having thus administered to them that comfort which 
they so much needed, and instructed them in relation to 
many other things, he commences the chapter from which 
our text is taken, with a most solemn warning against false 
teachers, especially those of the circumcision; who, it seems, 
every where followed upon the very heels of the first her- 
alds of the cross, endeavoring to mix up with the christian 
system, the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Jewish law. 
His brethren are informed, that they are of the " true cir- 
cumcision, who worship God in spirit, and rejoice in Christ 
Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." He also ad- 
verts to the fact, that if any of these teachers could boast of 
themselves, or trust in the flesh, he might also; he had been 
circumcised as well as they; he was of the stock of Israel; 
he was of the tribe of Benjamin; he was an Hebrew of the 
Hebrews, and as touching the law, a pharisee; and none 
had been more zealous than he had been, in persecuting the 
church of Christ. But all these advantages availed him 
nothing; for he was willing to count them all but loss for 
Chiist; and in this connection he uses the emphatic words 
of our text: "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but 
loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord." 

Such, my hearers, is a brief history of the text. We shall 
now proceed to its discussion. Our theme will be the na- 
ture and excellency of a saving knoivledge of Christ Jesus 
the Lord. We shall notice 

I. What is implied in a saving knowledge of Christ. 

II. The excellency of this knowledge. And 

III. The estimate which the author of our text placed 
upon it. 

I. What is implied in a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus 
the Lord? 



Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



113 



I would remark in the first place, that it embraces some- 
thing more than a mere historical acquaintance with the 
Lord Jesus. This, although quite essential to the existence 
of that knowledge of which we speak, and must always 
precede it, may, and I think does, very often exist, and that 
in a high degree, without ever producing that impression 
upon the heart, which will enable its possessor properly to 
estimate its excellency. This kind of knowledge looks only 
to the person and character of Christ, and to the prominent 
events of his life, embracing his miracles, death and resur- 
rection, without ever taking cognizance of his office, charac- 
ter, and the intimate relationship existing between him and 
ourselves. 

We cannot doubt for a moment, that the apostle himself 
possessed, long before his conversion, such a knowledge of 
Jesus as we here refer to. It were impossible for him to 
have been brought up at Jerusalem, the principal theatre of 
our Lord's mighty works, without having learned every thing 
in relation to his history. He must have been well ac- 
quainted with his miracles, as well as the authority with 
which he taught. It w T ould seem, from a remark made by 
one of the disciples, as he journeyed to Emmaus, on the 
morning of the resurrection, that even a stranger in Jerusa- 
lem was expected to be acquainted with the facts in relation 
to our Lord's history. And yet, with all this knowledge, he 
was a mad persecutor of Jesus and his disciples. This his- 
torical acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, differs in no re- 
spect whatever from that which we form in relation to any 
other character, whose life has been recorded upon the page 
of history, and produces in us just about the same effect. I 
may become well acquainted, from what has been written, 
with the character of Alexander, Ceesar or Bonaparte; I may 
admire the splendid talents and great achievements of these 
men, whose names have filled so large a space in the annals 
of the world; but all ends in mere admiration. I have no 
personal interest whatever in Alexander, Caesar or Bonaparte, 
they are gone, and I am not in the least benefitted by all 
their deeds of noble daring. So with many in relation to 
Christ. They profess to regard him as a divine personage, 
believe in his miracles^ admire that system of morals, as they 
call it, which he has given to the world, and all the time 
feel not the smallest interest in him personally, To them 



114 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



he is, as he was to the Jews, "a root out of dry ground, 
with no foim or comeliness that they should desire him." 
But perhaps I can better illustrate the idea I am endeavor- 
ing to enforce. From the testimony of others, I have been 
made acquain'ed with the fact that there is such a personage 
as Victoria, queen of the realm of Great Britain; I think it 
probable that I have formed a tolerably correct knowledge of 
this individual, of her person, of her character, her mental 
abilities, and the nature of that government over which she 
presides. Yet, I do not regard this knowledge as very ex- 
cellent, simply, because 1 am in no way, or at least very 
little, interested in her or her government; and therefore, but 
little concerned in what she does. But suppose my situa- 
tion were different; suppose that 1 had been a rebellious sub- 
ject of the late king, and for my rebellion my property had 
been confiscated, and 1 banished the realm, and compelled 
to labor the remainder of my days, in Botany Bay, or else- 
where, amidst many privations and cruelties. Now, whilst 
there 1 am made acquainted with the fact that this young 
queen has succeeded to the throne; that she is disposed to 
regard with favor, those who had been banished; and had 
actually issued her proclamation, inviting all of them to re- 
turn to their allegiance, and the enjoyment of their former 
privileges, in which proclamation, the ways and means had 
been devised to enable them to do so. How very different 
should I regard the history of these events? How excellent 
should I esteem this knowledge? With what joy should I 
receive this truth? How should I love it, and how soon 
should I begin to act? Every means in my power would 
be resorted to, that 1 might be restored to my wonted privi- 
leges and possessions. 

2. I remark, that this knowledge consists of something 
more than a mere speculative acquaintance with Christ and 
his gospel. I use the term, speculative acquaintance, for 
want of a better; by it I mean an acquaintance with the 
doctrines of the gospel, embracing the plan of salvation. 
We cannot doubt that many, very many, are well versed in 
these, yea, who have been engaged in teaching them, who 
have never known the power and influence of religion in 
the heart; and who are consequently not prepared to ac- 
knowledge its superior excellency. Of such our Lord speaks 
when he informs us, that there will be some in that day, 



Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



115 



that is in ihe judgment day, " who will say Lord, Lord, have 
we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name done 
many wonderful works," to whom it shall be said, " depart 
from me, ye workers of iniquity, for I never knew you." 
Some of the best biblical scholars have manifested by their 
fruits, that they were not prepared to acknowledge any su- 
perior excellency in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. We 
are reminded by such individuals as these, of a poor con- 
sumptive physician, who imagined that he had discovered a 
remedy for the terrible malady under which he labored, and 
whilst he was ever recommending his remedy to others, and 
commending its virtues, never used any portion of it himself, 
because he had never yet discovered that he was himself la- 
boring under the disease. Oi to revert to our former figure, 
like the poor prisoner at Botany Bay, whilst he is well aware 
of the means devised for the restoration of all rebels, knows 
all about the proclamation, is ever recommending it to 
others, yet remains inactive himself. Under some strange 
delusion, he has yet to learn that he is personally interested ; 
he is no rebel, therefore not concerned. Thus it is with very 
many in relation to Christ. Although very conversant with 
the scriptures, well versed in all the doctrines of the cross, 
they have not been brought to see and feel any personal 
connection with these doctrines or their author. This brings 
me to remark — 

3. That a saving knowledge of Christ implies an ac- 
quaintance with ourselves, as helpless, dependent sinners. 
We never can be made to see the excellency of a know- 
ledge of Christ Jesus, and his exact suitableness to our case as 
a Saviour, until we have been made to see and feel our lost 
and ruined condition, as rebels against the most high God. 
When Paul, the author of our text, was arrested on the 
highway, and in the light which shone around him, was 
made to see the exceeding sinfulness of his own heart, the 
great criminality of his course; how very different were the 
feelings which then agitated his bosom, from any which he 
had before experienced. Hear that cry of humility, as it 
bursts from his heart, « Lord, what wilt thou have me to 
do." In like manner, when the Philippian jailor saw the 
mighty power of God, and the influence of religion on his 
prisoners, and was made to see the guilt and malignity of 
his own heart ; what an entire change is brought about in 



116 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



his feelings? He who a little before had thrust God's ser- 
vants into the inner prison, and bound them fast in the 
stocks, and who but a moment ago would have committed 
suicide, now falls before the disciples, Paul and Silas, and 
cries in the anguish of his soul, " Sirs, what must I do to 
be saved?" Now he sees and feels that he is lost, and now 
sees his need of a Saviour; and when Jesus is preached to 
him, in connection with his lost and ruined condition as a 
sinner, how he rejoices, and how excellent does he esteem 
this knowledge! He had in all probability heard this same 
Jesus preached the day before, but then he felt no personal 
connection with him, and joined in the persecution. Now 
he is prepared to act ; and at that same hour, even at mid- 
night, he submits to his authority in baptism. He had seen 
his wretched condition as a sinner, and he is prepared to lay 
hold on the great physician, who presented a cure for his 
malady. This subject is most forcibly illustrated by our 
Lord, in his discourse to the pharisees, when he tells them, 
that " the whole need not a physician, but they that are 
sick ;" that he came not " to call the righteous, but sinners 
to repentance." To my mind, the great difficulty in the 
way of the reception of the gospel, proceeds from the fact, 
that we do not believe that part of it which reveals to us our 
corrupt and sinful condition, and the odious nature of sin. 
Being in our own estimation whole, we need not the physi- 
cian, and will not come unto Christ that we might have life. 

4. A saving knowledge of Christ implies confidence in 
his ability and willingness to save us. The sick man, al- 
though convinced of his diseased condition, would never be 
prepared to acknowledge the excellency of the physician's 
skill in curing disease, nor would he ever apply for his rem- 
edies, unless he had confidence both in his willingness to 
undertake his case, and his ability to cure him. Neither 
shall we ever be prepared to acknowledge the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ Jesus, although convinced that we 
are sinners, until, like Thomas, we can say, " my Lord and 
my God," and like Paul, with full confidence surrender our- 
selves into his hands, crying "Lord, what wilt thou 
have me to do." You see, my hearers, from these remarks, 
that a saving knowledge of Christ embraces the doctrine of 
repentance and faith. And we shall never find any one 
prepared to adopt the language of our text, until he has ex- 



Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



117 



ercised repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus 
Christ. 

II. We proceed to notice the excellency of this know- 
ledge. 

And here, my hearers, I am somewhat at a loss where to 
commence, a field so boundless opens before me. Shall I 
refer you to its sublimity ! Shall I call up to your minds 
those great doctrines which the gospel reveals to us, the im- 
mortality of the soul, the resurrection of the dead, the joys 
of heaven! Doctrines which philosophy, with all its lofty 
claims, could never make intelligible to man. Or shall I 
present before you some of the wonderful effects of this 
knowledge? In either point of view, how surpassingly ex- 
cellent does it appear? We can but admire that wisdom 
which penetrates the hidden mysteiies of nature, traces up 
her operations, and developes her grand and mysterious laws. 
But how far, in true sublimity and excellency, does such 
knowledge as this sink below that which reaches beyond all 
created things, and makes us acquainted with their origin 
and author: which, at the same time, reveals to us our own 
origin and destiny, and unfolds before the astonished mind, 
an eternity of happiness or misery, in another state of exist- 
ence; — whilst it assures us of the means by which we may 
escape the one and attain the other. Well might the apostle 
in view of this, be willing to count all things but loss for the 
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But, my 
hearers, it will profit us more, if we consider this knowledge 
as exhibited in its effects. And here, too, we are somewhat 
at a loss where to begin ; for whether we look to the excel- 
lent effects of the gospel of Christ upon nations, communi- 
ties, neighborhoods, families, or individuals, we cannot fail 
to admire it. Let us look for a moment at the condition 
of our world. Bring before your minds the map of the 
globe. Examine it in relation to the moral condition of the 
teeming millions which people its surface. Why, I would 
ask, those bright spots which we see designated thereon, in- 
tended to mark the progress of civilization? What has pro- 
duced this result? The answer is at home. " The people 
who sat in darkness have seen a great light." The gospel, 
with its benign influence, has beamed upon those lands. 
The sun of righteousness has risen upon them, with heal- 
ing in his wings, and mental and moral darkness have fled 
1G— Vol. V. 



118 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



away before his genial rays. The great author of our text, 
and others, with hearts burning under the influence of divine 
love, have preached Jesus in those countries. Look again — 
turn your eyes to the dark spots, look at China, at Burmah, 
at Hindostan, at Africa, at some of the isles of the sea. 
What a thick cloud rests upon these benighted regions? 
Many of them embracing the fairest portions of our globe, 
where, 

" In vain with lavish kindness, 
The gifts of God are strewn ; 
The heathen, in his blindness, 
Bows down to wood and stone." 

And where it may be truly said : 

" Every prospects pleases, 
And only man is vile." 

How degraded indeed is their wretched inhabitants, and 
how little of true excellence is to be found amongst them. 
The picture which the apostle has given of Rome, in his 
day, is now, and ever will be, a faithful portraiture of heathen 
nations. Now, my hearers, when you have examined these 
dark corners of the earth, look again to christian Europe, 
and to our own happy land, where the standard of the cross 
has been erected, and where the gospel has shed its glorious 
influence; and then say how excellent is this knowledge 
of Christ Jesus the Lord. How it refines and elevates our 
spheres, and what a lustre does it shed around the character 
of man. 

But we may come nearer home, we may bring in con- 
trast before our minds a community or neighborhood, 
where the blessings of the gospel are felt and acknowledged, 
and one where its peaceful influence is unknown. How 
very different the moral picture, as presented in various 
places in our own country, in neighborhoods, in families. It 
will always be found that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ 
that beautifies and adorns a community, State, neighbor- 
hood, and family circle, and just in proportion as its influ- 
ence is extended, will be the brightness of the picture. 

But it is to its influence on individual character more par- 
ticularly, that we are to look for the surpassing excellency 
of this knowledge. It is here alone we shall And its genu- 
ine effects. Christian nations, as they are called, arc 



Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



119 



composed of comparatively few, who have attained to a 
saving knowledge of Christ. In religious neighborhoods 
and families, and even in christian chinches, many will be 
found who have not received the truth in the love of it, and 
whose conduct does not exhibit the excellency of the gospel. 
So, in all these places, although much illuminated by its re- 
fulgent light, there is still much to obscure, and to detract 
from ils influence. We must then look to its transforming 
control over individual character, to its exalting effect on the 
humble pious man of God, who has been changed by di- 
vine grace from a love of sin to a love of holiness, in order 
that we may be prepared fully to appreciate its excellency. 
And where, my hearers, if we were to look over the whole 
world, could we find a nobler, a brighter example of the 
transforming and exalting influence of this knowledge, than 
is presented in the person of the author of our text. 

We have only to look at Saul, of Tarsus, and compare 
him with Paul, the christian, to see a most beautiful and 
striking illustration of the excellency of the gospel. Con- 
template for a moment the character of the persecuting 
Saul. He is a young man of no ordinary intellect, highly 
cultivated in the best schools, learned in the Jewish law, 
and accustomed to the most refined society, yet such is the 
ferocity of his unrenewed nature, such the malignity of his 
heart; that he can sit quietly and encourage an infuriated 
mob, whilst engaged in stoning to death a poor, meek, un- 
resisting disciple, whose only fault is, that he worships the 
God of his fathers, according to the dictate of his own con- 
science, and who, whilst the work of death is going on, is 
actually engaged in prayer for his murderers. Nor is this 
all. We presently find him, under the influence of the same 
vile passion, engaged in binding, and delivering into bonds 
and prisons, all whom he found worshipping in this way, 
and such is the ferocity of his disposition, that even the 
helpless female does not escape his wrath: "Both men and 
women are bound and delivered unto prison." Neither is 
he content with pursuing his victories in his own country, 
but persecutes them even unto strange cities. Now when 
we have pictured in our minds this mad persecutor, let us 
turn and contemplate the same individual, in the person of 
the meek, but manly Paul, as he winds his way through 
the earlh 3 testifying to small and great, repentance towards 



126 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 



God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Himself now the 
object of the cruelest persecution, we behold him flying for 
life, from city to city, the Holy Ghost testifying to him, that 
everywhere bonds and afflictions await him. Yet amidst 
all this, how patient, how meek, how unresisting, and yet 
how determined in his object! How little of self in all he 
does ! How regardless of suffering, how faithful ! It mat- 
ters not what may befall him, so Christ is pteached. In 
this he will rejoice, although it may add to his afflictions, 
Look! he is at Thessalonica — he preaches Christ to that 
people — the Jews are stirred up against him — he flies for 
life to Berea; but lo ! at Berea he preaches this same Jesus, 
for whom he had been persecuted at Thessalonica. Again 
at Berea, his life is in danger, he flies to Athens, and even in 
that learned city, before the great of the earth, he still lifts 
up his voice in behalf of the despised Nazarene. Now who 
can contemplate this great change, without being convinced 
of the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus, the means by 
which it had been accomplished. 

But there is still another view of this subject. However 
exalting and excellent this knowledge may be in its influ- 
ence on our character and happiness, during life and health, 
it sheds a peculiar lustre around the bed of affliction and 
death. Here, with the brightness of a noonday sun, it shines 
upon our pathway, throwing its bright rays across the dark 
valley of the shadow of death, bringing life and immortali- 
ty to our view. "For this is life eternal, to know thee the 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 77 Dispel- 
ling the dark cloud which hovers over the grave, it presents 
to the peaceful soul mansions of eternal glory prepared for 
him in heaven ; at the same time animating his poor per- 
ishing body with the sure hope of a glorious resurrection. 
Under the influence of this knowledge, the great author of 
our text, at the end of his journey, could cry out : "I have 
fought a good fight, — I have finished my course, — I have 
kept the faith, and henceforth there is a crown of righteous- 
ness laid up for me. 77 And under the same blessed influ- 
ence, thousands of those who have preceded and succeeded 
him, have been enabled to triumph over death and the 
grave. 

" Jesus can make a dying bed 
Feel soft as downy pillows are ; 
Whilst on his breast I lean my head, 
And breathe my life out sweetly there." 



Saving Knowledge of Christ, 



1*21 



III. Next we proceed to notice the estimate placed on 
this knowledge by the Apostle. 

We have already anticipated much that might be said on 
this branch of cur subject. We have seen the influence 
which an acquaintance with Christ, as the Saviour of sin- 
ners, had upon Paul. We have seen the lion converted 
into the lamb ; the mad persecutor of Jesus and his disci- 
ples, so changed as to be everywhere preaching that same 
Jesus, and enduring the severest trials, and most arduous 
labots, to spread that religion which he had endeavored to 
pull down, and we are prepared to hear of the great sacrifi- 
ces which he was willing to make, and did make, for the 
cause of truth. These, if we look a little further into his 
history, were great indeed. From the fact that he had re- 
ceived so liberal an education, and that too in a distant city, 
and at the feet of one of the most learned teachers of his 
day; we may fairly infer that he possessed no inconsider- 
able share of this world's goods. He was, as he tells us, a 
pharisee, a sect, in his day, highly honored amongst the 
Jews; and doubtless might have attained to great distinc- 
tion among that people. Besides, as a Jew, he enjoyed 
many privileges, which we all know were not a little es- 
teemed by them. He was a man of profound learning, 
and added to all this, he belonged to the honored tribe of 
Benjamin, a tribe which had never revolted against the 
house of David. No one can doubt, that with all these ad- 
vantages, had he sought after earthly good and earthly dis- 
tinction, he might easily have attained them. Wealth, in- 
fluence, ease, honors, friends, might have been his. But he 
counted them all loss that he might win Christ. Yea, he 
regards them all as filth in comparison with the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ. Jesus, and willingly endures the 
loss of all things. Not only so, but he can glory in tribula- 
tion also, rejoicing always when Christ is preached, though 
it may be the means of adding to his bonds. So high is 
the estimate which he places upon this knowledge, that al- 
though oft, like his master, he has to give his back to the 
smiters, having five times received forty stripes save one ; 
" although often in perils by land and by sea, in the city 
and in the wilderness, from robbers, from the heathen, from 
his own countrymen, from false brethren ;" still none of 
these things move him. The one great object of his life is 



122 



Saving Knowledge of Christ, 



to glorify God, and to testify the gospel of his grace. Like 
Moses, he had respect to the recompense of the reward; a 
rewaid not of this world. And like him he could esteem 
the reproach of Christ, greater riches than this world's trea- 
sures. 

Heie, my audience, I might close this discussion ; but be- 
fore I do so, permit me to address to you a few words by 
way of application. We have seen something of the na- 
ture of a saving knowledge of Christ, we have seen its 
excellency, and we have seen the estimate which the apostle 
put upon it. We have seen him passing by earthly honors, 
friends, influence, ease and wealth, and with a heart burn- 
ing with divine love, travelling the earth amidst dangers 
and persecutions, which were calculated to appal the stoutest 
heart. We have seen him impelled by one motive, and one 
only, in all he does, the glory of God. Now, brethren, let 
me enquire, what estimate do you put upon this knowledge? 
How has it operated on you? What sacrifices have you 
made? What losses have you sustained? And what perils 
have you encountered? Remember, that the way to heaven 
is still a narrow way; the gate is still a strait gate, and the 
great law of the kingdom still is, u if any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and 
follow me*" 

" Must I be carried to the skies y 

On flowry beds of ease, 
Whilst others fought to win the prize, 

And sailed through bloody seas." 

Brethren, the knowledge of Jesus Chtist is just as excel- 
lent, just as precious now, as in the days of Paul, and must 
be made manifest in the same way. The great commission 
is still in force: "Go ye into all the world and preach the 
gospel to every creature;" and the same cheering promise 
still stands annexed to it, " Lo, I am with you always, even 
to the end of the world." And still, brethren, a large por- 
tion of the globe is enveloped in a cloud of mental and 
moral darkness; millions of our race are still bowing down 
to dumb idols, the workmanship of their own hands; and 
thousands are swept annually down the current of time, 
into an awful eternity, without a knowledge of .lesus Christ, 
whilst the language of our master is sounding in our ears, 



Saving Knowledge of Christ 



123 



u This is life eternal, to know thee the true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom thou hast sent." Not only in heathen lands, 
is a call made upon us for men, for money, and for prayers, 
but our own country still exhibits a sad state of desolation, 
Zion seems to be clad in mourning; from every quarter of 
our field the cry is, coldness! coldness! Iniquity abounds, 
the love of many is waxing cold, and sinners are perishing 
in our midst. Let each one of us then, brethren, buckle on 
the armor, and fight the battles of our Lord. Brethren iti 
(he ministry, "say not there is still four months to the har- 
vest, lift up your eyes and behold the fields already white 
unto harvest;" see the teeming millions of immortal souls, 
posting their way down to hell; let their perilous condition 
beckon us on to their rescue; let us go forth to them with 
the spirit of a Paul, determining to know nothing but Jesus 
Christ and him crucified. Scatter, broad-cast, the word of 
life; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, 
exhort; go leaning upon Imrnanuel for support, and success 
must crown your efforts. True, you may have often to sow 
in tears, but you shall reap in joy. Go forth, then, bearing 
precious seed, and by and by you shall return bringing y out- 
sheaves with you. Brethren all, every one of us has some- 
thing to do. The great work of evangelizing the world, 
God has committed to his people, and each one must labor 
for that object. Let us not forget that most important de- 
claration of holy writ, " Whosoever calleth upon the name 
of the Lord shall be saved." "How can they call upon 
him in whom they have not believed, and how can they 
believe in him of whom they have not heard ; how can they 
hear without a preacher, and how can they preach except 
they be sent." Brethren, if our hearts are right we will be 
engaged ; if we esteem this knowledge as we ought, we 
shall be using our efibrts to extend its precious influence to 
others. Now, what we have to do, we should do with all 
our might. We must work whilst it is called to-day, the 
night of death will soon come, when no man can work. 
Soon the time allotted for our work will end. Ministers 
and people will soon, very soon, be called upon to give an 
account of their stewardship. Their privileges and oppor- 
tunities for doing good, as well as their sacrifices, will in a 
very short time inc'ct them in the judgment. 

In conclusion^ permit me to remind all who hear me, of 



124 Saving Knowledge of Christ. 

the great importance of- this subject. Nothing less than an 
eternity of happiness or misery depends on our being in pos- 
session, or not, of this knowledge. How stands the case 
with you to-day? Do you possess an experimental acquaint- 
ance with Christ Jesus or not? Have you been made to 
know yourselves as sinners, and the exact suitability of 
Jesus as a Saviour to your cases? Have you confided your 
all into his hands, and have you recognized his authority 
as Lord of all \ and is the great object for which you live, 
and for which you labor, to glorify him? If so, happy are 
you. I would say, go on,-r-a few more days of trial, and 
your fight of affliction will be over — a few more of the rev- 
olutions of time, and a never fading crown of glory will be 
yours. But on the other hand, if you have not fled to lay 
hold on the hope set before you in the gospel, if you have 
not an experimental knowledge of Jesus, your situation is 
one of awful peril. A few more days may land you in in- 
terminable misery, — a few more of the fleeting revolutions 
of time may banish your never dying souls with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of God and the glory of his 
power. Oh! be wise to-day. Acquaint now thyself with 
him, and be at peace. Remember the value of the soul. 
" What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole 
world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in 
exchange for his soul?" Amen. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER, 



VOL V. July, 1846, NO, 7. 



THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS; 

Introductory Sermon, preached before the Southern Baptist Convention, at 
its first triennial session, held in the city of Richmond, June 10, 1846, by 
Rev. Richard Fuller, D. D., of South Carolina. 

H AND THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME." — Haggai IK 7. 

Congratulating myself, fathers and brethren, that I am 
permitted again to see your faces and share your counsels, 
I proceed at once to the duty assigned me, and direct your 
meditations to the remarkable prediction just read. 

The limits of these exercises always require of your 
preachers imperfect compositions; otherwise, I would gladly 
advert to the context. There, what an argument with our 
brethren the Jews! For, if in nothing of aichilectural or 
ritual splendor could the second temple compare with the 
first, and if the presence of Messiah was to invest "the lat- 
ter house with a glory greater than that of the former," 
then, out of all question, this august Personage has long 
since appeared. 

And, so too, in this shaking of all nations — these convul- 
sions and revolutions to precede the coming of Christ, and 
the universal peace which held the earth in mute attention 
at his approach, — in all this, what a fine illustration of the 
truth that God is ever still when he blesses, and loud only 
when he crushes; and that not in the storm, nor earth- 
quake, nor fire, but in the gentle, soft voice, doth Eternal 
Love draw nigh to seek and to save that which is lost. 

It would, however, crave too much time to pursue these 
observations. I therefore sacrifice them, and confine myself 
17— Vol. V. 



126 



The Desire of all Nations. 



to the text, offering you some simple reflections on the ap- 
pellation and advent there announced. Let us enter into 
the matter; — first addressing our supplication to Him who is 
all our hope and confidence and desire, and saying, O Sa- 
viour Jesus, " be merciful to us and bless us, and cause thy 
face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon 
earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the peo- 
ple praise thee, oh God, let all the people praise thee. Then 
shall the earth yield her increase, and God, even our own 
God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of 
the earth shall fear him." 

Now, my brethren, that the being here spoken of was no 
mere man, no created intelligence, I think is evident from 
the very words before us. The expression "shall come," 
refers, of course, to a person, and implies pre-existence. 
And though this does not prove him to be divine, yet to 
whom but Deity could the language of the text be applied? 
Angels have often visited this planet, but of which of the 
angels could it ever be said that he is " the Desire of all na- 
tions?" To be the satisfying portion of a single soul, is the 
sublime prerogative of God alone. How absurd, then, to 
suppose that any lower object can fill the hearts, and minds, 
and desires of all the teeming population of the earth. 

The text, therefore, foretold an amazing phenomenon. It 
declared that the High and Lofty One who inhabiteth eterni- 
ty, would be seen among sinful men ; that He who from ever- 
lasting had dwelt in light unapproachable, would assume 
some form and make his entrance upon this globe; that the 
invisible and ever glorious, whom no man had seen, nor 
could see — the Eternal, forever concealed behind stars and 
suns, would veil his effulgence, and push aside those stars 
and suns, and come into the world. Such is the prophecy; 
and if this wonderful event, dimly anticipated, could agitate 
and transport the inmost spirit of patriarch and prophet, 
what should be our emotions now — now when He has 
come; when we have seen " the brightness of the Father's 
glory," "come forth from the Father and come into the 
world;" when He who being in the form of God thought it 
not robbery to be equal with God, has " made himself of no 
reputation and taken upon him the form of a servant, and 
been made in the likeness of men, and being found in fash- 
ion as a man, has humbled himself and become obedient 



The Desire of all Nations. 



127 



unto death, even the death of the cross;" when we can say, 
" without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God 
was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of an- 
gels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, 
received up into glory ;" and with adoring confidence, each 
of us can exclaim, " this is a faithful saying, and worthy of 
all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners, of whom I am chief." 

But of this mission, and its intrinsic and mysterious glo- 
ries, 1 may not stop now to say more. Well have men 
done, to commence from it a new era in the biography of 
our race. Amidst the wrecks of past ages, that transaction 
stands alone by itself, in unique and solitary grandeur; and 
stand it forever shall, the great epoch in the cycles of eterni- 
ty, the master-piece of infinite power, and wisdom, and love, 
to absorb our expanding souls long after this world shall 
have been purged by fire, and when all its records and 
annals shall have been forgotten. I say it is not my design 
to dwell on this "new thing which God has made in the 
earth." I wish simply to speak of the title here applied to 
the Redeemer, regarding the term "Desire" as referring to 
the expectation, and the wants, and the happiness, of the 
whole human family. 

I. First, then, it is a fact deserving more attention than 
has, I think, been bestowed upon it, that among the nations 
there has ever existed a wide spread, if not universal ex- 
pectation of a glorious person, to be the renovator of man- 
kind, and to impress a new character on the spirit habits 
and morals of the earth. A truth this, wholly inexplicable 
to the infidel, but quite incontestible for all that, and to every 
christian admitting of an easy solution. 

Why, my brethren, such a catastrophe as the Fall, — who 
will believe that it could ever be obliterated from the memo- 
ry of man? And we do discover, among almost all people, 
legends and traditions reverting, more or less distinctly, to 
that sad calamity. But if our ruin, much more surely 
would the promise of our redemption be transmitted, — a 
promise which in so peculiar a manner assured the guilty 
that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's 
head," and which was performed when "the fulness of time 
heing come God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, 
made under the law, to redeem them that were under the 
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." 



12S 



The Desire of all Nations. 



It is a famous question, which I shall not disturb, whether 
the benefits of the atonement by Jesus extend to other beings 
besides man. The Bible conveys clear intimations, that 
among intelligences peopling other portions of God's empire 
the knowledge was dispersed, both of the degeneracy of our 
race and of some wonderful expedient for our rescue. And 
if in distant provinces of creation, the advent of a Saviour 
into the world was matter for adoring study, — away with the 
thought that God would leave the posterity of Adam in 
ignorance of a transaction so deeply affecting theii destiny, 
aud of which this earth was to be the theatre. Accordingly, 
we find that such a revelation was not only given, but per- 
petuated. And those of you who are acquainted with an- 
tiquity know, that in all ages, and among nations most dis- 
tant from each other, the expectation of a deliverer has been 
cherished, and cherished every where as an express commu- 
nication from heaven. 

The truth is, that scarcely had the fall occurred, when 
God began to announce a retriever from the ruins of that 
fall; and in antedeluvian ages we see him so busied with 
this great promise, that, studied by the light of faith, the his- 
tory of the world even then will appear only as the first act 
in the grand drama of Redemption. 

It is a touching proof of God's compassion, that before the 
sentence was uttered against our guilty parents, the gospel 
was preached to them, and its golden notes mingled tenderly 
with those accents of wrath which otherwise might have 
driven them to despair. Directly after this, sacrifices seem to 
have commenced — an institution by which an innocent vic- 
tim was to be immolated for the sins of man ; a thing so en- 
tirely above the dictates of reason, that we at once recognize 
in it the appointment of heaven, and a type of the Messiah. 
The offering of Cain was as choice as that of Abel; the lat- 
ter, however, was an expiatory sacrifice, and the conduct of 
God to the two worshippers was a proclamation never to be 
forgotten, that without shedding of blood there is no remis- 
sion of sins; hence, "by faith Abel offered a more excellent 
sacrifice than Cain." In short, brief — to me most affeclingly 
brief — as is the record of those who lived before the flood, 
their cares, and passions, and pleasures, and pains, all sum- 
med up in a few pages, — yet the Spirit has supplied one 
important fact; it is, that there were preachers in those days. 



2'he Desire of all Nations. 



129 



whose theme was the same Jesus we preach — Enoch es- 
pecially foretelling his coming, and preparing the world for 
his reception. 

From the flood to the call of Abraham, we see God still 
occupied in consoling the earth with the promise of its great 
restorer. The Scriptures, indeed, declare, that the very 
manner of Noah's escape was emblematical of salvation by 
Christ. "The like figure whereunto," says Peter, "even 
baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the 
filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience to- 
ward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." No sooner 
is that patriarch landed, than this second father of mankind, 
by sacrifices of blood, inculcates on his family, then the 
whole population of the earth, the faith of the grand atone- 
ment. And, in fine, upon all of Jehovah's dispensations at 
this period we discern the plain shining signatures of this 
illustrious doctrine. 

In process of time we find God adopting a singular mea- 
sure. He separates one nation from all the nations, choos- 
ing them, not because they were more in number than any 
people, but for this peculiar purpose, that they might be the 
depositories of the "faithful saying;" and might shew from 
afar the magnificent redemption to be one day wrought out 
for man. Hence, if patriarchs rejoiced, it was in anticipa- 
tion of that event — Abraham desiring to see Christ's da}', 
and glorying in the sight, and Jacob exulting over death, as 
he leaned upon the top of his staff, and turned his eye to 
the triumphant Shiloh. If prophets were inspired, it was to 
confirm the faithful in their aspirations for the Messiah; so 
much so, "that the testimony of Jesus was the spirit of pro- 
phecy," — "the Spirit of Christ which was in them, testifying 
beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should 
follow." Amid the pomp of royalty, if monarchs pined 
with a longing for the gratification of which they would 
have bartered their crowns, it was to see Him who was all 
their desire and all their salvation. "Many kings," said the 
Saviour, " have desired to see those things which ye see, and 
have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, 
and have not heard them." Types, altars, oblations, and all 
the gorgeous machinery of the temple, were but shadows of 
the promised Mercy. In short, wherever among the He- 
brews "righteous men" were found; the consummation of all 



130 



The Desire of all Nations. 



their desires would have been to witness the ingress of the 
Prince of Peace; and in every Hebrew woman's bosom, 
concealed but glowing, there was such an ambition of the 
honor afterwards conferred upon Mary, that the prophet calls 
the Saviour "the desire of women" — the fondest, highest, 
holiest dreams of the sex, terminating in the bliss of be- 
coming mother to that Son whom a virgin was to bear, 
whose name would "be called Immanuel, Wonderful, 
Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and of whose 
government and peace there should be no end." 

Up to this point then, in all ages preceding the birth of 
Christ, you see how that wonderful epiphany was the en- 
giossing theme of piety and inspiration. And here let me 
repeat two important remarks w T hich have been already 
made, and w 7 hich we should always take with us when 
perusing the books of the Old Testament. The first is, 
that during this period the expectation of a wonderful per- 
sonage to change and mould the destiny of the world, was 
not confined to the Jews, but was diffused through the earth. 
It was impersonated in Melchisedec; it sustained the sufferer 
of Idumea — who, when ail was desolation around and with- 
in, exclaimed, "I know that my* Redeemer liveth, and that 
he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;" it fired the 
lips of Balaam; it was scattered over Asia, Africa, Sicily, 
and the Islands of the Archipelago, and from thence was 
conveyed to Rome, and treasured among those Sibylline 
oracles, which even the wisest men revered as sacred; and it 
prevailed, as Tacitus and Suetonias inform us, most ancient- 
ly, all over the East. 

This is one striking fact, and the other is, the existence 
every where of sacrifices, and the faith of appeasing the 
Deity by blood, by the substitution of the innocent for the 
guilty. Unite now these two truths, and how incontestible 
is the assertion, that from the fall to the advent of Jesus 
Christ, there was a general expectation of the mighty victim 
of Calvary, which justifies the application to him of this 
title a the Desire of all nations." 

We come now to the great advent, and as the nativity, 
and afterwards the public manifestation, of the Saviour ap- 
proach, the truth I am urging becomes confirmed on all 
hands, and the earth is agitated by premonitions and prog- 
nostications exciting most intense concern. 



The Desire of all Natio?is. 



131 



In the West, at Rome, the metropolis of the eaith, and 
only a few years before the appearance of Christ, Julius 
Csesar seeks to subvert the liberties of his countiy, aspiring 
to a throne; and by what argument is his claim supported? 
His friends appeal to an oracle in the temple, predicting a 
king to arise at that time whose reign should be without 
bounds and whose government should secure the happiness 
of mankind. And in a work almost contemporaneous with 
the birth at Bethlehem, the most celebrated of the Latin 
poets rehearses this oracle, declaring it now about to be ac- 
complished, and employing as to the wonderful offspring, 
almost the very images and language of Isaiah himself. 

In the East, the light to enlighten the gentiles is not only 
seen from afar, but shines so clearly that the sages leave 
their homes and studies and repair to the birth-place, doing 
homage to the kingly Star of Jacob. 

Above all, in Judea, and at the scene of this amazing 
mystery, how is every thing in commotion, and from every 
quarter what notes of preparation. Does the Hebrew enter 
the temple or walk the streets of Jerusalem? he sees the 
most devout and venerable of his nation bending with years, 
yet rejoicing that even their fading eyes should behold the 
Consolation of Israel. Does he leave the city? among the 
hills, and buried in cells upon the mountains, he finds those 
holy hermits of whom Josephus speaks, absorbed with the 
immediate coming of Messiah, waiting to form his escort, 
and vindicating their sublime hope by prophecies not to be 
mistaken. Prom 6ut the dreary depths of the wilderness 
and along the verdant banks of the Jordan, resounds per- 
petually the voice of a most extraordinary man, an austere 
herald who has drawn all eyes upon him as a prophet," with 
the spirit and power of Elias," and who still utters the start- 
ling cry, " Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in 
the desert a highway for our God." In fine, my brethren, so 
eager and universal was the expectation of a great deliverer, 
that as soon as John appeared, multitudes flocked and 
crowded about him; and the enquiry, Art thou he? Art 
thou he? a question never before proposed to any of the 
prophets — now breaks from their impatient lips ; and if they 
surrender their convictions, it is most reluctantly, and only 
when the Baptist "confesses and denies not, but confesses 
that he is not the Christ," but merely his harbinger, and 



132 The Desire of all Nations. 



not worthy to perform even the most menial office, such as 
unloosing his sandals, for that exalted personage. 

Nor, my brethren, (though it is out of place to make the 
remark here,) was the sensation felt by the inhabitants of 
this earth alone. Other and very different orders of intelli- 
gences were moved at the astonishing phenomenon. On 
the night when the Saviour was born, Hell, I make no doubt, 
stood aghast and marshalled all its forces and commenced 
in Herod and the massacre of the children, that infernal 
conspiracy which pursued the Redeemer through his life 
and seemed to triumph — but was most gloriously discom- 
fited — at the cross. And all heaven, we are expressly in- 
formed, was filled with a sympathy most thrilling and ec- 
static. Man, those glorious beings had known in Eden, and 
loved with the love of a brother for a younger sister. The 
dismal hour of man's fall they had witnessed, nor can any 
tell their emotions when amidst the bowers of Paradise, 
there tang that shriek, death, death, is in the world! And 
now when the Brightness of the Father's glory stoops to 
that world, and on such an errand, what wonder and rapture 
seize their adoring thoughts. All along their radiant, count- 
less files, roll anthems of high exultation, and then, wheeling 
down, they pour upon the listening ear of Palestine the 
music of the skies. 

Yes, my brethren, not only on this scene of his love 
and grief, but in other and distant places were felt the com- 
munications of unutterable interest when the Day-spring 
from on high visited us. And if when he came the world 
knew him not, and honored him not, he was not without 
honor, such as no mere creature can receive. True, no star 
formed by mortal hands would ever glitter upon his breast, 
for he was to be despised and rejected of men ; but a star 
made by eternal hands moves along the heavens, and stop- 
ping in reverence, showers its lustre upon his cradle. No 
illuminated capital or palace hails his approach, for he comes 
at midnight and in an humble village, but "the glory of the 
Lord shines around," and beams from the Shekinah irradiate 
the earth. No troops of admiring courtiers welcome the 
incarnate God — oh no ! low lies his head in a manger and 
amongst the herds of the stall — but a retinue of strong and 
immortal cherubim and seraphim adore the Lord of glory, 
and shake the night-air of Galilee with praises for that binh 



The Desire of all Nations. 



133 



which would give " glory to God in the highest, and on 
earth peace, good will towards men." 

The Expectation of all nations shall come ! You now 
perceive, my brethren, with what propriety in this view the 
Saviour is called "the Desire of all nations.' 7 As in those re- 
gions where the sun is hid for months, all console themselves 
with anticipations of his light and turn instinctively to the 
point where he will appear, and, when the dawn approaches, 
abandon their pursuits, and dress themselves in their richest 
garments, and climb the highest hills to greet his first 
rays, so was it with the Sun of righteousness. The ex- 
pectation of a deliverer cheered the earth in its gloomiest 
darkness. As the fulness of time drew near, the gaze of 
all settled upon that quarter where the Luminary was to 
arise, and the pious and the wise secluded themselves 
from all their avocations, and in the sublimest faith and lofti- 
est contemplations, watched for that morning which was to 
know no night but forever give light to them who sat in 
darkness and the shadow of death, and guide the wretched 
in the way of peace. 

But it is time to pass to our second article, and to consider 
this title of the Saviour in another view and with reference 
to the xoants of mankind; for as regards these also, he is 
emphatically "the Desire of all nations." 

II. The words rendered u the Desire of all nations," mean, 
in fact, the want, the good needed, the grand desideratum of 
all the people of the earth. Nor, were this the place, would 
it be difficult to vindicate the text thus considered, boLh po- 
litically and socially, and to prove that those nations upon 
whom the gospel shines, occupy summits gilded and glad- 
dened by the orb of day, while all others are still in the 
deep valleys, not yet penetrated by his rays. Why, my 
brethren, look abroad upon the governments of the earth. 
Who need be told that righteousness exalteth a nation, and 
that whatever be the form of civil polity, it will prove a bles- 
sing or a scourge, just as rulers obey or violate the precepts 
of the gospel? And so, too, as to the arts and sciences, 
as to liberty and order, as to every virtue which adorns 
a people (and wo above all lands to this republic, when 
such virtues come to be worn only with a loose and dis- 
heveled decency,) in all these respects while it is true 
that each age and nation hath its peculiar character, how 
18— Vol. V. 



134 



The Desire of all Nations. 



unequivocal is the testimony of history that the characters of 
all depend upon the infusion or rejection of the principles 
of the gospel. 

I am not, however, a politician or a philosopher, but a 
preacher. It is not my design to speak of political or ethical 
defects, but of wants far more profound and pressing, the 
wants of the soul, the necessities of the immortal spirit, 
exigencies which no earthly scheme of polity or philosophy 
or even religion has ever recognized, but which the gospel 
both reaches and abundantly satisfies. The entire system 
of the Bible, indeed, and every provision of the gospel has 
this great peculiarity, it addresses man as carrying within him 
the consciousness of wants overlooked by all other teachers 
except Jesus Christ, wants which make him poor and blind 
and naked and miserable, while he pretends to be rich and 
incieased in goods. Christianity takes for granted a guilt 
and ruin, such as no human expedient could meet. And 
it is precisely on this account, it is because of its exact adap- 
tation to all the dreadful emergencies of our condition, that the 
great salvation has triumphed and must triumph; that Jesus 
must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet; that 
Christ lifted up will draw all men unto him; that all nations 
shall call him blessed, and that unto him shall the gathering 
of the people be. And if you do not already feel all the 
force of this truth, suffer me to explain it to you. 

In the first place, then, my hearers, wherever a human 
being is found, there will be found a conscience, however 
stupifled, yet troubled and agitated with guilt. "This is 
the curse which goeth forth over the face of the whole 
earth," and secretly appals the proudest, and flashes in upon 
the hardest, through all their steel and adamant, convictions 
that shake the soul with terror; nor from this pressure of un- 
pardoned sin has man ever found, nor will man ever find 
deliverance but by the blood of Christ. Let men affect to 
despise the gospel and seek to persecute its ministers and 
stifle its light; that gospel has in their bosoms a ministry they 
cannot resist, a radiance they cannot extinguish; and even 
while his hands are reeking with persecution, the jailor ex- 
claims, what must I do to be saved. Let men plunge into 
excesses, and seek in vice and revelry to drown the forebod- 
ings within, the "fearful looking for of judgment;" though 
they dig into hell, saith the Lord, there will I search them, 



The Desire of all Nations. 



135 



though they dive into the sea, there will I command the 
serpent, and it shall bite them ; and amidst all his delirious 
carousals Belshazzar's countenance changes, and the joints 
of his loins are loosed, and his knees smite one against an 
other at a hand-wiiting which he cannot read. 

In a word, let men seek by mere repentance to atone for 
guilt, it is in vain. Everywhere the imploring cry is heard, 
" wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow myself 
before the high God; shall I come before him with burnt 
offerings, with calves of a year old ; will the Lord be pleased 
with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of 
oil; shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit 
of my body for the sin of my soul." And blood, blood, 
flowing in every land, altars groaning with victims, heca- 
tombs smoking with gore, lacerating hooks and torturing 
pilgrimages, the reddened axles of Juggernaut, and the wail 
of anguished woman on the Ganges, proclaim the ineffica- 
cy of repentance to give peace to the conscience. No, my 
brethren, the great want of a guilty world is the atonement of 
Calvary. It is the Lamb of God alone who taketh away 
the sin of the world. To him, John, the great preacher of 
repentance, pointed; in him there is a redundancy of merit 
for the vilest ; from his cross there floats down a voice, say- 
ing, "Look unto me and be saved all ye ends of the 
earth !" And in this view how truly is the Saviour, " the 
Desire of all nations" bringing "peace to them that are nigh 
and to them that are afar off." 

Guilt! To the want produced by guilt, add now that 
created by the corruption which sin hath shed through our 
nature, blinding the mind, perverting the will, and not only 
casing the heart in obduracy, but filling it with enmity to 
God. A corruption so entire and universal and self-propa- 
gating, that the Bible employs in portraying it the most 
frightful image, and pronounces all men, not only without 
life but dead, meaning by death, not merely the absence, but 
the opposite of life. " All," say the scriptures, " are dead 
in trespasses and sins." Such is the natural condition of the 
whole world ; and were men left to themselves, this corruption 
would forever increase and forever feed the deathless worm 
and the quenchless fire. And as most gloriously " the Life 
of the world," as he who * has come that we may have life, 
and have it more abundantly " than by the first birth — that 



126 



7Vie Desire of all Nations. 



the Spiiit may quicken, and purify, and renovate; in this 
view, how truly is Jesus " the Desire of all nations." 

In fine, take but one thought more — the just, anger of 
God— that wrath which hangs in unmitigated blackness 
over a guilty world, and from which there is no refuge but 
at the cross of Christ. The wrath of God, my hearers, is a 
calamity which none can comprehend, and even the possi- 
bility of incurring it, must fill a reflecting mind with 
unspeakable concern and alarm. In heaven it once burnt 
a little, and instantly rebel angels, though formerly most 
glorious, withered into devils, and sank all flaming into hell. 
And now not only are all the children of Adam, "children 
of wrath," but all feel the premonition, all hear that, cry — 
" Flee from the wrath to come." All know that conscious- 
ness of guilt, is the prophecy of vengeance; and until shelt- 
ered in Jesus, all stand helpless and hopeless, exposed to 
that lurid cloud which is only suspended for a while — only- 
waits till it shall have been charged and burdened with 
storms and fires and every deadly material, when it will 
break and beat forever on their heads, and pour a deluge of 
eternal wrath upon their souls. And in this view, is not 
Christ — that Jesus who " hath delivered us from the wrath to 
come" — oh! is he not "the Desire of all nations." 

It would be easy, to multiply details on this article, 
but I must not. It were easy to shew, that in refer- 
ence to the most profound and pressing necessities of 
man, the gospel is the great desideratum — literally the one 
thing needful. The spiritual wants of every age, and clime, 
and class, declare how woithy of all acceptation is the 
faithful saying; and the assertion would not be at all extra- 
vagant, should I use the image of the apostle, and say, that 
where Christ is not known, the earnest expectation of the 
creature waiteth for his manifestation, and the whole creation 
groaneth and travaileth in pain together for a deliverance He 
alone can bestow. Justice pursues — vengeance thunders — 
conscience shoots its clear and ghastly flashes — Satan sways 
his baleful sceptre — Death " reigns over all," trampling the 
nations under the hoofs of that terrible pale horse — and after 
death, " Hell follows." Such is the state of man, nor is 
there any hope for him but in the Redeemer. Until that 
Sun of eternity arise, a canopy of perdition and despair 
envelopes him, " clouds and ever during dark surround 
him," and he turns on every side 



The Desire of all Nations. 



137 



Eyes that roll in vain, 
To find the piercing ray, and find no dawn. 

III. Our last article requires scarcely a word from me. 
Here I had proposed to consider the epithet, " desire," as 
synonymous with happiness, and it cannot be necessary to 
prove that the happiness of all must be found in Christ. 
Not that all feel this, for men, alas! ignorant on all subjects, 
are most ignorant as to what constitutes their true felicity, 
and thus call that good which they love, and reject and 
hate the gospel which condemns their sins. Yet it is not 
less true, that only Jesus can confer true happiness; he 
alone can say, "come unto me all ye that labor and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

Happiness, because the mind of man can only rejoice in 
truth, and Christ is "the truth." Without him, we grope 
darkling in mazes of error, and are perplexed and wretched 
amid doubts and speculations as to all it most concerns us 
to know. 

Happiness, because the heart of man can be satisfied only 
with objects worthy of it, and Christ alone proposes those 
objects — objects which fix the heart, but without which the 
passions wander, in unrest and pining, through creation, fret- 
ting themselves with things gross and sensual, whose pos- 
session only stings us into a consciousness of our immortal- 
ity, and whose best gifts are only a pleasing degradation. 

Happiness, lastly, because God is the life of the soul, and 
Christ alone reveals this Being, and reinstates us in his 
favor and love. To be without Christ, say the scriptures, is 
to be without God, and to be without God, is to be severed 
from the supreme good, to be cut off from the source of all 
joy, to have our souls cursed and blasted now, and dying 
thus to become forever most desolate and wretched — the 
orphans of the universe, the outcasts of eternity. But as I 
said, a word here will suffice. 

APPLICATION. 

The subject, my brethren, on which you have been 
addressed, is one very dear to me, not only for its interest, 
but as the common joy and glory of all christians. It is 
because the disciples of Jesus wander from the cross that they 
are separated, and walk over hidden fires forever flaming 
up in controversy. As they gather around this sacred altar, 



138 



The Desire of all Nations. 



one heart glows in every breast, and all the elements of 
strife are melted and fused into one monopolizing love for 
God and for each other. 

And now, in applying this discourse, what shall I say? 
Why my hearers, the very entrance of such a Being into 
this world, and the mission of which this earth was the the- 
atre, how astonishing and absorbing. There are times in 
the lives of all men, when we feel that we are not all matter; 
when our thoughts wander far away from the finite and 
mutable, and become familiar with eternity ; when our souls 
are agitated with the mystery of that eternal Spirit by which 
they are encompassed — are athirst for God — and ascending to 
the perfect and ever-glorious, exclaim, in the language of 
Philip, " Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us." 

My brethren, that God, that eternal Spirit, has rent the 
veil and shewn himself in our midst. The Word which 
in the beginning was with God, and was God, was made 
flesh, and dwelt among us." " Christ Jesus has come into 
the woild," and " he that hath seen me," he says, " hath 
seen the Father." And now what movements should stir our 
minds? In Christ, "God was manifest in the flesh." He is 
" the image of the invisible God," " the brightness of the 
Father's glory, and express image of- his person." In his 
temper the character of the Deity was impersonated ; in his life 
the attributes of the Deity were embodied; in his cross the 
very heart of the Deity is disclosed to our love. What a 
Being! Search creation through — no such object can be 
found for the admiring and adoring contemplations of the 
universe. 

Having gazed upon this wonderful Being, think next of 
the enterprise on which he came, and the cost at which that 
enterprise was achieved. The enterprise! think of that; 
it was the salvation of man. The devils saw him and ex- 
claimed " what have we to do ivith thee 9 " as if they had 
said ' thou hast not come to save us.' No, they had nothing 
to do with him ; but we have every thing to do with him ; 
since he came for us men and our salvation. 

The enterprise — and, then, the cost — those sufferings which 
destroyed his life, though they could not destroy his love, — 
think of these, and how are you affected? " Christ," says 
Peter, " hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust;" 
but in that o?ice, what sufferings were not concentrated. 



The Desire of all Nations. 



139 



Ah! miserable sinner, from eternity had the only begotten 
reposed in the bosom of the Father, and now see him leav- 
ing that bosom and taking the form of a servant for you. 
From eternity had the fairest among ten thousand and alto- 
gether lovely been rich in the glories and hosannas of the 
skies, and now see him becoming poor for you; — so poor, 
that living he had not. where to lay his head, and dying he 
w T ould, but for charity, have been buried like a common 
malefactor, by the high-way side. Follow the adorable Jesus 
from scene to scene of ever deepening insult and sorrow. 
Trace his footsteps, marked by his own blood.. Behold his 
sacred face swollen with tears and stripes. And, last of all, 
ascend mount Calvary and view there the amazing specta- 
cle; earth and hell gloating on the gashed form of the Lord 
of glory; men and devils glutting their malice in the agony 
of the Prince of life ; and all the scattered rays of ven- 
geance which would have consumed our guilty race, con- 
verging and beating in focal intensity upon him of whom the 
Eternal twice proclaimed, in a voice from heaven, " this is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." After this, 
what are our emotions? Can we ever be cold or faithless? 
No, my brethren, it is impossible, unless we forget this 
Saviour, and lose sight of that cross on which he poured out 
his soul for us. 

That is an affecting passage in Roman history, which re- 
cords the death of Manlius. At night, and on the Capitol, 
fighting hand to hand, had he repelled the Gauls and saved 
the city when all seemed lost. Afterwards he was accused ; 
but the Capitol towered in sight of the forum where he was 
tried, and as he was about to be condemned, he stretched 
out his hands and pointed weeping to that arena of his tri- 
umph. At this the people burst into tears, and the judges 
could not pronounce sentence. Again the trial proceeded, 
but was again defeated; nor could he be convicted until 
they had removed him to a low spot, from which the Capitol 
was invisible. And behold, my brethren, what I am saying. 
While the cross is in view, vainly will earth and sin seek to 
shake the christian's loyalty and devotion ; — one look at that 
purple monument of a love which alone, and when all was 
dark and lost, interposed for our rescue, and their efforts will 
be baffled. Low must we sink, and blotted from our hearts 
must be the memory of that deed, before we can become 



140 



The Desire of all Nations. 



faithless to the Redeemer's cause, and perfidious to his glory. 

But this thought has carried me beyond all bounds. I 
return, and with a single reflection more I finish. That re- 
flection regards our duties, and the solemn responsibilities 
which the subject charges home upon us all. 

My impenitent heater, how loudly does the text speak 
to you; and I cannot sit down without asking, what think 
you of Christ? How are you treating him who came and 
who seeks to save you? You have heard that he is the de- 
sire of all nations; tell me is he your desire or aversion — 
will you receive and obey him, or are you resolved still to 
say, "not this man, but Barabbas?" Recollect, without him 
you can have no peace now, — your deepest, strongest wants 
must be unsatisfied, — the whole creation cannot make you 
happy. Recollect, you will soon have nothing to do but to 
die; then "the desire of the wicked shall perish," and what 
will become of you? Soon the Saviour will come again, 
and very differently. "Behold he cometh with clouds, and 
every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, 
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." 
And then, when you call upon mountains to cover you, and 
abysses to shelter you, how will your present conduct ap- 
pear? And what a wail will be yours when, shattering the 
air, and shattering your soul, that sentence shall be pro- 
nounced, " depart accursed into everlasting fire prepared for 
the devil and his angels." 

It is, however, to us christians that the application of the 
text especially belongs at this time, and in our bosoms how 
many thoughts ought it to awaken. True, (oh blessed be 
God for this,) Jesus Christ is all our desire and all our sal- 
vation. We know him as such, and our souls do magnify 
the Lord. But, with the possession of this blessing, what 
responsibilities devolve upon us! 

My very dear brethren, is Christ the Desire of all na- 
tions? Then why are there so many nations still ignorant 
of Christ? The angel declared that the tidings should be to 
all people, — why then have so many not heard those tidings? 
The Saviour's command is, "go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature," — why then have not 
the heralds of the gospel traversed the earth? The answer 
to these questions I blush to give; it is, (shame on our 
covetousness, — the reproach of our country and .of .our 



The Desire of all Nations. 



141 



churches,) that christians have not done and will not do 
their duty. 

Ah! my brethren, my brethren, just now as I surveyed 
the cross, I pronounced it almost impossible for us to be 
faithless to Christ; but alas, when I turn from the cross to 
the conduct of christians, I have most painfully to confess 
my mistake. Where is the Spirit of Christ amongst us? 
Upon whom has his mantle fallen, all wet with tears for the 
perishing? "When he saw the multitudes he was moved 
with compassion on them, because they fainted and were 
scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd;" how few are 
affected with such a sight now. " Five hundred millions of 
souls," exclaimed a missionary, "are represented as being 
unenlightened. I cannot, if I would, give up the idea of 
being a missionary, while I reflect upon this vast number 
of my fellow-sinners who are perishing for lack of know- 
ledge. Five hundred millions! intrudes itself upon my 
mind wherever I go, and however I am employed. When 
I go to bed it is the last thing that occurs to my memory; if 
I awake in the night, it is to meditate on it alone, and in 
the morning it is generally the first thing that occupies my 
thoughts." Nor is it only the heathen at a distance; among 
ourselves how many thousands of the sons of Ethiopia are 
stretching out their hands, and how have they been neglect- 
ed. My brethren let us awake to our responsibility ere the 
wrath of God wake us to sleep no more, and the cry which 
goeth up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth attract his 
righteous indignation. 

Is Christ the Desire of all nations? Then, my brethren, 
let us preach Christ; and let our missionaries preach Christ. 
We do not want philosophers, nor metaphysicians, nor even 
theologians, but preachers of Christ and him crucified. Nor 
let us fear that God will not open a great and effectual door 
for us, if we are willing to be co-workers with him. What 
am I saying? my brethren, how wide a door is already 
open ; and if, instead of indolently crying, " there are yet 
four months and then cometh harvest," we would only 
" lift up our eyes and look on the fields," upon every side we 
would see them " white and ready to harvest." 

Lastly, is Christ the Desire of all nations 9 Then how 
sure is our success. True, we must expect difficulties, 
and it is not improbable that before the gospel conquers 
19— Vol. V. 



142 



The Desire of all Nations. 



the earth there will be many conflicts and convulsions. 
But when we consider what God hath promised and done, 
how intent and busy is the whole Trinity in the grand 
scheme of salvation, what difficulty can move us? Who 
can doubt that all events shall conspire to secure Emman- 
uel's triumph, and even the passions of the world become 
ministers in its conversion to God? Many of us depre- 
cated and deplored the disruption which lately divided our 
churches, but the man has blind eyes who sees not already 
the hand of God in this; and he, amongst us, has a cold 
heart who has not felt a glow at the noble conduct of our 
brethren at the North, and is not fired with holy emula- 
tion. And thus shall it ever be, the truth shall yet bind 
kings in chains, and nobles in fetters of iron; the wheels of 
the Redeemer's chariot move not back, but shall roll on 
until "the Desire" shall become the delight of all nations, 
and shall reign over them in righteousness. All the re- 
sources of the universe are in the hands of the ascended 
Jesus; to him the Father hath said, " thy throne, O God, 
is for ever and ever;" and the hour hastens on, when the 
whole earth shall become a temple, and that temple be filled 
with the glory of the Lord, and echo with the praises of 

"An assembly such as earth 
Saw never, such as heaven stoops down to see." 

Welcome the glorious consummation! Oh months, and 
seasons, and years, speed your tardy flight, and usher in the 
blissful period, that day when from every hill and valley 
shall ascend clouds of incense, to return in sparkling show- 
ers of mercy; when from every human heart shall swell the 
angelic hymn, glory to God in the highest, on earth peace 
and good will to men; when the pealing chorus of a reno- 
vated world shall answer back the thundering acclamations 
of the skies, and every creature which is in heaven and on 
the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in 
them shall say, Allelujah! the Lord God omnipotent reign- 
eth ; Worthy is the Lamb that was slain ; Blessing and 
honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon 
the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen! 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL. V. August, 1846, NO, 8, 



HISTORY AND PRINCIPLES OF BAPTISTS: 

An Introductory Sermon, delivered before the Columbus Baptist Associa- 
tion, Miss., at its Session, Sept. 13th, 1845, by Rev. W. Carey Crane, 
of Columbus, Miss. Published in accordance with a resolution of said 
Association. 

" Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another ; and the Lord 
hearkened and heard it ; and a book of remembrance was written before him, for 
them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name." — Malachi iii : 16. 

There is a book of remembrance, and a recording angel, 
ever in the presence of God. The book contains the history 
of our fallen race. It is now unfinished, but is progressing 
to its completion, on the last great day. Of such as " fear 
God and speak often one to another," it is said a " book of 
remembrance is written " before God. The historian of eter- 
nity is God. His angels perform but the subordinate part of 
gathering the tokens of his grace. If the history of eternity 
shall engage the thoughts and affections of the paradisiac 
world, surely, the less important and incomplete history of 
time must command the high consideration of man in his 
imperfect state. The history of God's people is but a detail 
of their trials and conquests over sin, and their spiritual foes. 
It is always a grateful task to gather the evidences of the 
faithful labors of our departed ancestry. From their self- 
denying exertions in the glorious cause of our heavenly 
master; from their successes in winning souls to Christy 
from their undying adherence to the principles of sound, 
eternal truth, we may gather rich lessons of instruction. It 
is an old maxim, that " history is philosophy teaching by 
example." It is no less true, that christian experience is 
grace bringing forth its luscious fruit. In the spirit of these 
sentiments, it is our present intention to demonstrate that the 
history of Baptist principles, is a detail of lives consecrated 



144 History and Principles of Baptists. 

to their truth, arid furnishing illustrious examples of their 
force and influence. We are the sect every where spoken 
against. Perhaps no people since the dawn of the christian 
era, have had more of obloquy and contempt cast upon them 
than the Baptists. Now the object of persecution by Ro- 
manists; and anon, contemned as criminals and malefactors 
by Puritans; never the favorites of power, and always the 
scorn of kings and princes; held together by simple princi- 
ples, we have maintained an existence despite of all opposi- 
tion. The marvel now is, not that there are so many Bap- 
tists, but that there are any at all. Were it not for God and 
his word, there would not be one to contend for the " faith 
once delivered unto the saints." "Magna est Veritas^ et 
prevalebit." "Great is truth, and it shall prevail." The 
blood of the martyrs has indeed been the seed of the church. 
Romanism, Unitarianism, Universalism, Psedobaptism, Pa- 
ganism, Deism and Infidelity, have all been arrayed against 
us. Long since must we have ceased to exist, had it not 
been that the Lord was on our side, and was stronger than 
all our foes. Tauntingly we have been often asked, who are 
the Baptists? What are the principles for which they are 
contending? Briefly let me on this occasion, endeavor to 
answer these questions, and plainly set forth our principles. 

I. Who are the Baptists ? In answering this ques- 
tion, I shall 1, speak of their name, origin and continuance; 
2, of their existence in the four quarters of the globe ; 3, of 
their persecutions; 4, of their eminent men, who have dis- 
tinguished themselves as scholars, orators, philanthropists, 
and men of genius. 

1. Their name, origin and continuance. It is not pre- 
tended that always there have been a people, called Baptists. 
The name is nothing ; we only maintain, that always have 
there been people who have cherished and practised Baptist 
principles. The Welch churches claim an unbroken con- 
tinuity since the days of the apostles. It has been asserted, 
" that the Baptists originated in Germany, in the year 1522, 
at the beginning of the reformation." It is true, that no de- 
nomination of Protestants can trace the origin of its present 
name further back than about the time of the reformation; 
and most of them have originated since that period. And it 
appears to be true, that the name of Baptists, by which this 
people have since been known, was then first assumed, pro- 



History and Principles of Baptists. 145 



bably in opposition to that of Ana-baptists, with which their 
enemies were constantly reproaching them. It is not the his- 
tory of a name, but the prevalence of principles, which is the 
just object of attention with the student of ecclesiastical his- 
tory. "Their object," (the Baptists,) says Benedict, "is not 
to show what is not true respecting others, but what is tru£ 
concerning themselves. They do not deny that Episcopa- 
lians can find bishops, the Presbyterians elders or presbyters, 
the Methodists and the Quakers inward light, among the 
primitive christians; neither do they doubt that the Congre- 
gationalists or Independents have good grounds for thinking 
that the apostolic churches were of their belief respecting 
church government. They only ask that terms should be 
explained. With most denominations, they find something 
with which they can agree, and their hearts cleave in love 
to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ." We are Episcopa- 
lians, as we hold that every church should have a bishop; 
but we differ with them upon the origin and jurisdiction of 
ecclesiastical power. We vest all power in the assembly of 
the believers, and they originate officers. We hold to apos- 
tolic succession, but it is an apostolic succession of princi- 
ples, practices and adherants to the commands of the Sa- 
viour and his apostles. Episcopalians have three ordeis in 
the ministry, bishops, presbyters or elders, and deacons. We 
hold to one order in the ministry, a bishop, combining in 
himself the other characteristics of elder and pastor. The 
deacon with us, is an officer in charge of ecclesiastical tem- 
poralities, not of spiritualities. W r e are Presbyterians also, as 
we hold to the doctrine, that ruling and teaching elders are 
one and the same. We are Methodists, as we believe all good 
christians should be, zealously affected in a good work. We 
are Quakers too, as we cherish the hope that we have an in- 
ward light. Without reserve we hold also, that the following 
principles have always been maintained by a portion of 
christians: "l,that baptism commenced with the christian 
dispensation, and was peculiar, bearing no analogy to any 
previous institution, such as circumcision, nor in any sense 
derived from previous enactments, but revealed as a positive 
law of the kingdom of God ; 2 3 that baptism is only scriptu- 
ral as administered by immersion of the whole body in 
water; 3, that it cannot scripturally be administered to any, 
but on a profession of faith in Jesus Christ ; 4, that as a 



146 History and Principles of Baptists. 



command of the New Testament, it is obligatory on all who 
profess faith in Christ, and is intended to form a great line of 
separation between the church and the world." These pro- 
positions have appeared in prominent view, upon all the 
investigations of ecclesiastical history. Our principles origi- 
nated with Christ; as he was baptized, so aie we baptized. 
Were the first christians now living, the world, as at present 
disposed, would call them Baptists; and were the apostles 
now preaching, they would be regarded as Baptist preachers. 
Our name, Baptist, is not significatory of all we profess. 
Our generic name is christian, our specific name is Baptist. 
Our first book of church history is an antiquated narrative, 
called the "Acts of the Apostles," and sets forth, as say the 
Magdeburg Centuriatory, "that the apostles baptized only 
the adult and aged, whether Jews or Gentiles, whereof 
there are instances in Acts ii, viii, x, xvi, xix, but as to 
the baptizing of infants we have no example." The man- 
ner of baptizing was by dipping or plunging into water, 
in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, according to Romans ii, and Colossians ii. The 
Encyclopedia Americana says, that " the Baptists are a 
protestant sect, who maintain the necessity of immersion, 
from the signification of the word Baptizo } to dip, used 
by the sacred writers; from the performance of the rite 
in rivers in the primitive ages, and from the phraseology 
used in describing the ceremony." " There is that scatter- 
ed, yet increaseth." How true was this maxim, is manifest 
from the general diffusion of gospel principles, immediately 
succeeding the persecutions which commenced in the apos- 
tolic age. Clemens Alexandrinus, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr, 
who were cotemporaries of, or immediately succeeded the 
apostles, testify, that through the apostolic age, and a greater 
part of the second century, immersion only was known and 
practised. The investigations of modern times, among 
English and German theologians, confirm the declarations 
of the fathers. Neander affirms, " that it cannot possibly 
be proved that infant baptism was practised in the apostolic 
age." Prof. Lange, on infant baptism, remarks, "that it is 
totally opposed to the spirit of the apostolic age." Grotius, 
in his annotations on Matt, xix: 14, states, that "in the 
councils of the ancients, we shall find no earlier mention of 
pedo-baptism, than in the council of Carthage." Brets- 



History and Principles of Baptists. 147 

chneider observes, " that all the earlier traces of infant bap- 
tism, are very doubtful ; on the contrary, Tertullian is the 
first who refers to it, and he censures it; Oiigenand Cyprian 
defend it." It was in the third century that the most griev- 
ous errors originated. Infant baptism was the first of these 
heresies, and was chiefly confined to Africa. It originated 
in a misconception of our Lord's discourse with Nicode- 
mus. On that discourse the strange dogma was constructed, 
that baptism could remove original sin and qualify for 
heaven. This change of views only respected the subjects, 
not the mode, of baptism. Out of it originated the doctrine 
of baptismal regeneration, a doctrine always popular with 
the minions of the papacy in succeeding ages. That this 
change only respected the subjects, and not the mode, is sus- 
tained by the testimony of the learned Dr. Whitby, of the 
Church of England, in his commentary on Romans vi: 4. 
" Immersion was religiously observed by all christians for 
thirteen centuries, and was changed into sprinkling without 
authority from the author of this institution. It were to be 
wished, that this custom were again of general use." Du- 
ring succeeding centuries, protests were made against these 
innovations. In the fourth century, especially, Gregory 
Nazianzen earnestly opposed himself to the unwarrantable 
use made of sacred Srdinances. That the mode of baptism 
was still immersion, and was held in high repute in the 
fourth century, is sustained by the fact, that five of the Em- 
perors of Rome were immersed : Constantine, Constantius, 
Gratian, Valentinian II, and TheodosiusI; also, nine distin- 
guished men in the Greek and Latin churches: Basil, Greg- 
ory of Nazianzen, Nectarius, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome, 
Augustin, Alypius and Adeodatus. Prom the fifth century 
until our time, infant baptism has been common among 
some who should have professed and practised a more primi- 
tive faith. This change has been a work of gradual pro- 
gression. In the ancient days of Christianity, men were 
modest in the expression of their views of apostolic practice. 
But as the world recedes in point of time from the era of 
Christ, the "savans" of pedo-baptist Christianity have be- 
come more bold and courageous in the expression of their 
sentiments. Says that theologocial gladiator, Rev. Nathan 
L. Rice, "my decided conviction is, that I have clearly 
proved, that baptism should always be performed by pouring 
or sprinkling." 



148 History and Principles of Baptists. 



2. The existence of Baptists in the four quarters of the 
globe. The first churches were established in the east, of 
which accounts ate found in our first book of church history, 
the Acts of the Apostles, and in Jones, Mosheim, Eusebius 
and Gieseler's works on Ecclesiastical History. In Africa, 
the baptism of believers, and of such only, was a prominent 
and cardinal doctrine for a long time. Upon that founda- 
tion these churches continued to rest, until spiritual Egyptian 
darkness spread over nearly all Africa, — the consequence of 
the apostacy of Rome. In Europe, persecution drove chris- 
tian fugitives into an asylum among the "Waldenses," a 
people occupying the beautiful valleys of Piedmont, at the 
foot of the Alps, who, together with the Albigenses, in the 
south of France, received the gospel in the early part of 
the second century, a practice they never fully abandoned. 
What connexion there is between these ancient people and 
the adherents of primitive Christianity now, is shewn by the 
testimony of Limborch, Professor of Divinity in the Univer- 
sity of Amsterdam, and Mosheim, the author of the history, 
as quoted by Jones. The former says, a to speak candidly 
what I think, of all modern sects of christians, the Dutch 
Baptists most resemble both the Albigenses and Waldenses." 
The latter, notwithstanding the flimsy, confused, and, in 
many instances, the erroneous account .which he has given 
of the Waldenses, yet has expressly owned, that "before the 
rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay concealed in almost 
all the countries of Europe, persons who adhered tenaciously 
to the principles of the modern Dutch Baptists." England 
received the gospel in the days of the apostles. From its 
ecclesiastical history, we learn that thousands were baptized 
according to the primitive mode. Wales, the Gibraltar of the 
Baptist faith, always unconquered and unconquerable, re- 
ceived the gospel about the same time; and from her histo- 
rians we ascertain, that from the introduction of the gospel, 
A. D. 63, until A. D. 600, the Welch people knew no other 
baptism but immersion, and no other subject but an avowed 
believer. When Austin, the emissary of Pope Gregory the 
Great, visited this country, (Wales,) about A. D. 600, he 
found a society of christians at Bangor, consisting of 2,100 
persons, who were afterwards destroyed because they refused 
to baptize infants at the command of the Pope. Evans 
traces the remnant of the ancient faith> through the darkness 



History and Principles of Baptists. 149 



of popery, to the year 1000, and Peter Williams, down to the 
year 1115. From the visit of the early English Baptist Re- 
formers, it is clearly proved, that in the vales of Carleon and 
Olchon, Baptist churches were formed in these almost inac- 
cessible fastnesses of mountains, which had existed from 
time immemorial. There is little doubt, therefore, that un- 
broken continuity has existed from the time of the apostles. 
During the reign of William the Conqueror, a considerable 
number of Baptists from France, Germany and Holland, 
came over to the British Isles, and so greatly pievailed, that 
Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a book against 
them. "In the twelfth century, the Baptists put forth a 
confession of faith, asserting, 'in the beginning of Christiani- 
ty, there was no baptizing of children; our forefathers prac- 
tised no such thing. We do, from our hearts, acknowledge 
that baptism is a washing which is performed with water, 
and doth hold out the washing of the soul from sin.'" 
Peter Bruis, at that time a pastor among the Waldenses, 
publicly vindicated Baptism, and multitudes attached them- 
selves to him, who were called Petrobrussians. Menno Si- 
mon, after whom the Dutch Baptists are called Mennonites, 
flourished about the year 1530. It is remarked by Thomp- 
son, (a British Baptist minister, in his Historical Sketch of 
the Baptist denomination, to which we are indebted for 
much herein contained,) "The christian fortitude of a Bap- 
tist named Snyder, who was beheaded at Lewarden, led 
Menno to examine the doctrine of baptism, and finally 
adopt it. Several persecuted Baptists soon rallied around 
him, whom he formed into a church; and, being a man of 
great genius and commanding eloquence, he succeeded in 
spreading his peculiar views through Holland, Guelderland, 
Brabant, Westphalia; through the German provinces that 
skirt the Baltic, and on to Livonia. He was hunted by his 
enemies at one period, a large reward having been offered 
for his life, but he survived all his dangers and died peacea- 
bly, after a course of great usefulness, A. D. 1561." 

The first regular Baptist church in London, was formed 
in 1607, under the auspices of a Mr. Smyth, formerly of the 
Establishment, upon general Baptist principles. In 1633, a 
particular Baptist church was formed. In 1650, associations 
were established and epistolary correspondence opened, in- 
cluding English, Scotch, Irish and Welch churches. In 1689 
20— Vol. V. 



150 History and Principles of Baptists. 



the particular Baptists held an assembly and put forth the 
" Confession of Faith." By some it is supposed, that the 
first Baptist church in Scotland was formed by a Mr. McLean, 
in 1765. Others think that this is a mistake, as a church 
was formed in 1763, out of portions of Cromwell's army, 
having epistolary correspondence between English and Irish 
churches. The history of the fortunes and successes of the 
English Baptists, is well delineated by the faithful Ivimey. 
The rise and progress of the denomination in America, are 
truly wonderful. Backus, Benedict and Sempie have done 
us invaluable service, in their contributions to our historical 
literature. At a future day, some other mind will gather the 
fruits of all the labors of our fathers, and show forth in bold 
relief, our true origin and history. But the advocates and 
opponents of apostolic succession, equally agree in charging 
it upon us, that we have all descended from Roger Williams. 

The persecutions of Puritans against Quakers and Bap- 
tists, drove Roger Williams and his few friends to Providence, 
R. I. They contended for liberty, civil and religious, and 
contending for this liberty, they formed, says Backus, the 
first Baptist church in America. " Mr. Williams had been 
accused before of embracing principles which tended to 
Ana-baptism; and in March, 1639, he was baptized by one 
of his brethren, and then he baptized about ten more." 
We sustain his course, in thus proceeding to establish a 
church, by the unanswerable argument of Archbishop 
Whately, in his "Kingdom of Christ Delineated." "Sup- 
pose, for instance, a number of emigrants bound for some 
colony, to be shipwrecked on a desert island, such as afforded 
them means of subsistence, but precluded all reasonable 
hope of their quitting it; or suppose them to have taken re- 
fuge there as fugitives from intolerable oppression, or from a 
conquering enemy, (no uncommon case in ancient times,) 
or to be the sole survivors of a pestilence or earthquake 
which had destroyed the rest of the nation; no one would 
maintain that these shipwrecked emigrants or fugitives, were 
bound or permitted, to remain — themselves and their posteri- 
ty — in a state of anarchy, on the ground of there being no 
one among them who could claim hereditary or other right 
to govern them. It would clearly be right, and wise, and 
necessary, that they should regard themselves as constituted, 
by the very circumstances of their position, a civil community, 



History and Principles of Baptists. 



151 



and should assemble to enact such laws and appoint such 
magistrates, as they might judge most suitable to their cir- 
cumstances. And obedience to these laws and governors, 
as soon as the constitution was settled, would become a moral 
duty. # m m A similar rule will apply to ecclesiastical 
communities. It really does seem, not only absurd, 

but even impious, to represent it as the Lord's will, that 
persons who are believers in his gospel should, in conse- 
quence of the circumstances in which Providence has placed 
them, condemn themselves and their posterity to live as 
heathens, instead of conforming as closely as those circum- 
stances will allow, to the institutions and directions of Christ 
and his apostles, by combining themselves into a christian 
society, regulated and conducted in the best way they can, on 
gospel principles. And if such a society does enjoy the divine 
blessing and favor, it follows that its proceedings, its enact- 
ments, its officers, are legitimate and apostolical, as long as they 
are conformable to the principles which the apostles have laid 
down and recorded for our use." It thus manifestly appears 
that, according to the argument of an Episcopal author of 
eminence, apostolic succession was not necessary to constitute 
the first Baptist church in Providence a legitimate successor 
to the primitive churches. Apostolic practice was all that 
was required. Roger Williams being himself an Episcopa- 
lian, and having ordination from mitred heads and holy 
Episcopal hands, was, according to High Church argument, 
also fully empowered to administer baptism according to the 
provisions of the ancient copies of the Rubric. But it is 
sometimes contended, that because the Providence church 
was the first Baptist church, therefore all other Baptist 
churches in the United States originated from that church. 
If it could be proved that that was the only Baptist congre- 
gation which had a direct succession from British Baptists, 
the case would be clearly made out, if the discarded doctrine 
of succession were of any avail. It appears, however, that 
Mr. John Myles, a minister and member of the Baptist 
church in Swansea in Wales, in 1662, was turned out of his 
place, as "the chief leader" of that ancient body, by a cruel 
act of Parliament, which turned two thousand teachers out 
of their places in one day, for refusing fully to conform to 
the Church of England. He then came over, with the 
book of church records which he had kept there, and it 



152 History and Principles of Baptists. 



remains in our Swansea to this day. Thus writes Backus. 
"And at the house of John Butterworth, in Rehoboth, in 
1663, John Myles, elder, James Brown and others, solemnly 
covenanted together as a chuich of Christ, to obey him in 
all his ordinances and commandments. Because, however, 
a Congregational church existed in the same town, Mr. 
Myles and his chureh were complained of, and a fine im- 
posed upon them for it. But, in 1667, the court granted 
them the town of Swansea, where the church has continued 
by succession ever since, and is the fourth Baptist church in 
America." All the circumstances attendant upon the forma- 
tion of that other church in Massachusetts, which emanated 
from the preaching of President Dunstar, of Cambridge, 
against infant baptism, attest that that church likewise origi- 
nated, from a somewhat different source, from that formed 
at Providence. The chuich at Welshlract also, then under 
the government of Pennsylvania, but now under the State 
of Delaware, was formed chiefly of persons who came over 
from Wales, in 1701. The first Baptist church in the State 
of New York, was formed at Oyster Bay on Long Island, 
about the year 1741. The first Baptist church in the city of 
New York, was formed in 1762, under the ministry of John 
Gano. The first Baptist church in Virginia, was formed in 
Prince George county in 1714, by Robert Norden, who then 
came from England, and was their pastor till he died, in 
1725. It can, therefoie, be shewn that a very large propor- 
tion of the Baptist churches in this country, were originally 
formed of emigrants from England, Ireland, Wales, or Hol- 
land; — by persons who had already belonged to communi- 
ties of our faith and order, in their mother country. From 
these humble beginnings, what hath not been wrought? 
Our numbers have doubled in a quarter of a century, and 
now, if our statistics were complete, we have over 800,000 
communicants, over five thousand ministers, ten or twelve 
colleges, five theological seminaries, and a variety of periodi- 
cals and papers, besides efficient organizations for the diffu- 
sion of gospel truth, by means of oral preaching and the 
preas. Here we raise our Ebenezer. Hitherto hath the Lord 
blessed us. 

3. Persecutions of the Baptists. In 402, the Milevitan 
council ordained that they be anathematized who deny that 
children are saved by baptism. In 413, Honorius and 



History and Principles of Baptists. 



153 



Theodosius ordained that whoever was baptized, as well as 
the administrator, should be put to dealh. About the year 
1049, Beringarius, a bold and faithful preacher of the gos- 
pel, was accused of denying baptism to little ones, and hun- 
dreds of his adherents were massacred, "for opposing infant 
baptism," and " for being baptized." In the Bishopric of 
Tryers, in Flanders and Germany, persecution was carried 
on with unmitigated severity against the Baptists, and one 
hundred and fifty thousand were cruelly put to death. Amid 
all these persecutions, Baptists did live; their preachers could 
travel through the whole German empire, and lodge every 
night at the houses of their fiiends. They were burnt, be- 
headed and drowned; "yet," says Moshiem, "there were, in 
1160, 800,000 who professed this faith." "In 1022, four- 
teen persons of eminence were burnt at Orleans, in France, 
for professing Baptist sentiments; otheis weie martyred on 
similar grounds, in Lower Saxony, under Henry III, the 
Emperor at Rome, in 1 147; at Barenga and Parma ; in the 
Bishopric of Toulouse, nineteen were burnt in 1232; at 
Maiseilles, uuder Pope John XXII; at Crema, in Austria, in 
1315; at Aubiton, in Flanders, in 1373; at Montpelier, in 
France, in 1417; at Augsburg, in Germany, 1517; at Zurich, 
in 1527; and in the same year, Leonard Skooner, a Baptist 
minister, and seventy of his friends, were put to death at 
Rottenburgh, in Germany; finally, John Wouteriz was burnt 
at Dort, for being baptized, in 1572." Peter Bruis was put 
to death in 1130, for vindicating baptism. It was in the 
600th year after Christ, that the monk Austin, the Pope's 
legate, met the Welsh Baptists on the borders of Hereford- 
shire, when he made them Lnree propositions, one of which 
was, that they should receive infant baptism. But it was 
promptly met by the reply, that " they would keep this or- 
dinance, as well as all other things, as they had received 
them from the apostolic age." This prompt and decisive 
refusal so enraged him, that he exclaimed: "Sins ye wol 
not receive peace of your brethren, ye of other shall have 
werre and wretche." And setting the Saxons upon them, 
they murdered one thousand and two hundred of the minis- 
ters and delegates then present." In England, 1536, " the 
national clergy met in convocation, and declared the senti- 
ments of the Baptists to be detestable heresies, utterly to be 
condemned." In 1538, a commission was given to Arch- 



154 History mid Principles of Baptists. 



bishop Crammer, of Canterbury, and others, to proceed against 
the Baptists, and bum their books; and on the 16th of Nov'r, 
of the same year, a royal proclamation and instructions were 
issued to the justices throughout England, directing them to 
see that the laws against the Baptists were duly executed. 
Brandt, in "History of Reformation," says, " thirty-one Bap- 
tists, who fled from England to Delft, in Holland, were put 
to death; the men were beheaded, and the women drowned." 
Bishop Latimer, in a sermon preached before Edward VI, 
speaks of the events which transpired during the reign of 
Henry VIII, and observes, that " Baptists were burned in 
different parts of the kingdom, and went to death with good 
integrity." Under the reign of Edward VI, an act of par- 
don for Papists and others was issued, excluding the Bap- 
tists; and in 1547, a fresh commission was decreed to search 
for all Baptists, under which Joan of Kent was burnt, on 
2d of May, 1549. The reign of the Bloody Mary was sig- 
nalized by its numerous acts of atrocity. David George, a 
Dutchman, was disinterred in St. Lawrence's church, three 
years after his death, and his body was burnt, because it was 
discovered he had been a Baptist. These persecutions ex- 
tended into the reign of Elizabeth. A royal proclamation 
ordained, that Baptists should leave the land, and in the 
17th year of that queen's administration, a congregation of 
them was found without Aldgate, London, of whom " some 
were banished, twenty-seven were imprisoned, and two were 
burnt to death in Smithiield." A churchman of distinction, 
Dr. Some, two years after this event, wrote a book against 
the Puritans, in which he inveighs against the Baptists; and 
complains, "that they had several conventicles in London 
and other places; that some of their ministers had been edu- 
cated at the Universities, and that they held heretical opin- 
ions." As with the primitive christians, so with the perse- 
cuted Baptists, the intolerant opposition with which they 
contended; the intolerance of the overwhelming power of 
potentates and priests; served only to gain them strength and 
accelerate the progress of their principles. Thus we find, 
that in the reign of James I, they had acquired sufficient 
boldness, notwithstanding persecutions, to publish a treatise, 
justifying their principles of dissent ; to petition the king for 
relief, and in 1618, to re-print a book translated from the 
Dutch, on baptism, " the first that was published on that 
subject, in the English language." The last martyr to Bap- 



History and Principles of Baptists. 155 



list principles burnt in England, was Edward Wightman, of 
Burton-upon-Trent. He was condemned by the Bishop of 
Lichfield and Coventry, and was burnt at Lichfield, April 
11th, 1612. In the British empire, since the days of fiery 
persecution, Baptists have been permitted to live unmolested, 
and though subject to all the disabilities of dissenters, they 
have increased rapidly, and now exert a salutary influence. 

The whole history of the "mad fanatics of Munster," is 
one of intolerance, viewing the extravagancies of that de- 
luded section of Anti-psedo-baptists, in whatever light we 
may. An impartial historian informs us, that the " insurrec- 
tion of those times in Germany, (1533,) ought not to be at- 
tributed to religious opinions, but to civil dissensions respect- 
ing government, and national and personal liberty." It is 
evident also, that of the 100,000 persons who fell by the 
sword, all were not Baptists, which is further proof, that this 
insurrection was not so much against religious, as against 
civil polity. But it is beautifully remarked, by a gifted 
minister of our faith, who has no superior in our own ranks, 
"thousands of educated christians even, are to this day fully 
persuaded that we derive our origin from the mad fanatics of 
Munster. The increase of intelligence and candor is alter- 
ing, indeed, the tone of the higher class of historians on this 
theme. For the excesses of the body who converted Mun- 
ster into a den of ravening beasts, our churches are no more 
responsible, than are the Huguenots of Prance for all the ex- 
travagancies and impostures of the Camisards and the French 
prophets, — than is the established church of Scotland for all 
the ravings of Irvingism, or that of England for the delu- 
sions of the many of her communion, who believed in 
Joanna Southcate, — than are the Methodists of England for 
the Anna Lee, who sprung up and gathered her first prose- 
lytes in one of the Methodist societies. The fifth monarchy 
men of London, who rose for 1 King Jesus,' and threw the 
metropolis of England into consternation, were, in all other 
matters, regular and orthodox Peedo-baptists ; but as Baptists 
we have never imputed to the body of Peedo-baptists, the 
obnoxious tenets and the fanatical conduct of this handful 
of incendiaries. Yet, unjust and cruel as is the prejudice 
which would fasten upon our denomination the burden of 
the Munster fanatics, it is a prejudice still widely spread and 
deeply rooted ; one of those vulgar errors, which it often costs 
science and truth centuries of toil to eradicate." 



156 History and Principles of Baptists. 



Our own country has not been altogether free from fierce 
bigotry and unrelenting persecution. Our New England 
ancestors of Plymouth rock memory, condemned at one and 
the same time, innocent men and women, convicted of the 
impossible crime of witchcraft; poor Baptists and simple 
minded Quakers, who had fled from Holland and England 
to the new world, as unto an asylum for the oppressed. 
Whether English Puritans or French Huguenots, it was all 
the same, banishment was by them decreed against all non- 
conformists. Liberty of conscience was construed into li- 
centiousness of life and debauchery of manners. Roger 
Williams, the modern apostle of civil and religious liberty, 
was "decried, thwarted, misrepresented and exiled from the 
colony of Massachusetts." He had "broached and divulged 
divers new and dangerous opinions against the authority of 
magistrates, as also writ letters of defamation both of the 
magistrates and churches." The head and front of his of- 
fending was his belief and the publication of such belief, 
that the civil magistrate should not restrain or limit the con- 
science of man, in religious matters. The colonial history 
of Virginia, too, abounds with incidents of the most reckless 
persecution. Could a Harris, an Ireland, a Weatherford, a 
Lunsfoid, a Bledsoe and a Craig atise from their graves, 
they would speak in tones of inconceivable horror of a pam- 
pered, godless priesthood; the cock-fighting, gaming gentry 
of the mother country, sent over because their fathers had 
no estates to bestow upon them at home, to enlighten his 
majesty's subjects of the "ancient dominion;" they would 
tell us of cruel persecutions, of prison walls, of harangues 
to eager multitudes, from grated windows, and of lawless 
force to crush the "Plebian sect." That history is incorpo- 
rated in "Semple's Virginia Baptists," and the "Lives of 
Virginia Baptist Ministers," and interwoven with all the re- 
volutionary recollections of our ancestors. 

Of Lewis Craig, it is said, that he was arrested, with 
others, by the sheriff of Spottsylvania, and brought before 
"three magistrates, in the yard of the meeting-house, who 
bound him and others, in the penalty of two thousand 
pounds, to appenr at court two days after." The prose- 
cuting attorney said of them, "may it please your worship, 
they cannot meet a man upon the road but they must ram a 
text of scripture down his throat." For refusing to give se- 



History and Principles of Baptists. 157 



curity that he would preach no more in the county for 
twelve months, he was sentenced to close confinement in 
the jail. As he and his companions passed on to prison, 
through the streets of Fredericksburg, they united in singing 
the lines — 

"Broad is the road that leads to death." 

He remained in confinement one month, and then visited 
Williamsburg in behalf of his persecuted brethren. The 
following extract from a letter written by the deputy gover- 
nor, John Blair, will show in what light he regarded these 
Baptists: "I am told they administer the sacrament of the 
Lord's supper, near the manner we do, and differ in nothing 
from our church, but in that of baptism, and their renewing 
the ancient discipline, by which they have reformed some 
sinners, and brought them up to be truly penitent; nay, if a 
man of their's is idle, and neglects to labor and provide for 
his family as he ought, he incurs their censures, which have 
had good effects. If this be their behaviour, it were to be 
wished we had some of it among us." There is on record, 
a memorable speech made on behalf of Lewis Craig and 
others, by Patrick Henry, on or about the 4th of June, 1768. 
It was on the occasion above cited, when the prosecuting 
attorney made the charge of their zeal in quoting Scripture. 
That speech thus closes: — "May it please your worships: 
There are periods in the history of man, when corruption 
and depravity have so long debased the human character, 
that man sinks under the weight of the oppressor's hand, 
and becomes his servile, his abject slave; he licks the hand 
that smites him; he bows in passive obedience to the man- 
date of the despot, and in this state of servility, he receives 
his fetters of perpetual bondage: — But, may it please your 
worships, such a day has passed away! From that peiiod, 
when our fathers left the land of their nativity for settlement 
in these American wilds, — for liberty ', — for civil and religious 
liberty, — for liberty of conscience, — to worship his Creator 
according to his conceptions of heaven's revealed will; from 
the moment he placed his foot on the American continent, 
and in the deeply imbedded forests sought an asylum from 
persecution and tyranny, — from that moment, despotism was 
crushed; her fetters of darkness were broken, and heaven 
decreed that man should be free, — free to worship God ac- 
cording to the Bible. * * # # But may it please your 
21— Yol. V. 



158 History and Principles of Baptists. 



worships, permit me to enquire once more, for what are 
these men to be tried? This paper says, 'for preaching the 
gospel of the Son of God.' Great God! For preaching 
the gospel of the Saviour to Adam's fallen race." And in 
tones of thunder he exclaimed, " What law have they vio- 
lated?" The scene, now grown so intensely exciting, was 
closed by a mandate from the presiding justice, — " Sheriff! 
discharge those men." 

Of Samuel Harris it is said, " that having served his 
country as a valiant soldier, he was even more valiant as a 
soldier of Jesus Christ." In court, a Captain Williams ve- 
hemently accused him as a vagabond, a heretic, and a mover 
of sedition every where. Mr. Harris made his defence. But 
he was ordered not to preach again in the county for twelve 
months, or be committed to prison. He was dismissed upon 
his representation, that he would not probably trouble them 
again in a year. But a short lime afterwards, while "certain 
young men were preaching, the word of God began to burn 
in his heart." When the young men had finished, he ad- 
dressed the congregation as follows: " I partly promised the 
devil, a few days past, at the courthouse, that I would not 
preach in this county again in the term of a year ; but the 
devil is a perfidious wretch, and covenants with him are not 
to be kept; and therefore, I will preach." He was not dis- 
turbed again by the court. On another occasion, in Orange 
county, he was pulled down as he was preaching, and 
dragged about by the hair of the head, and sometimes by 
the leg. 

James Ireland, was imprisoned for twelve months and a 
day, in the county jail of Culpeper, for the "crime of 
preaching the gospel of Christ." He was accompanied to 
prison amid the abuses of his persecutors, and while incar- 
cerated in his cell, not only suffered by the extreme in- 
clemency of the weather, but by the personal maltreatment 
of his foes. They attempted to blow him up with gun- 
powder, but the quantity obtained was only sufficient to 
force up some of the flooring of his prison. 

Lewis Lunsford was distinguished beyond most men of 
God, of his times. "He was a man of enlarged views and 
feelings. He corresponded with Isaac Backus, of New Eng- 
land and D. Rippon, of London. With the Presbyterian 
ministers of his neighborhood he maintained the most inti- 
mate and friendly intercourse." Yet, such a man did not 



History and Principles of Baptists. 



159 



escape persecution. "A clergyman appointed a day to 
preach against the Ana-baptists. Crowds attended to hear 
him. He told stories about Jack of Leyden, and Cromwell's 
round heads; but he could not by such tales stop the gospel 
current, now swelling to a torrent. When Mr. L. preached 
again in those parts, they attacked him again by more 
weighty arguments." One constable empowered to arrest 
him, refused because of his fascinating powers. Another 
tremblingly served the warrant. He was held in a recogni- 
zance to appear at court. The court found him guilty of a 
breach of good behavior, and he gave security not to preach 
again in the county, under the expectation of obtaining a 
license to preach. This was not obtained ; and he often, 
thereafter, regretted that he did not go to prison. This oc- 
curred in Richmond county, Va. 

Of John Weatherford, who was imprisoned through the 
instrumentality of the rulers of the established church, in 
Chesterfield co., in 1773, it is said, that he preached from 
the door of the prison, as long as he was allowed the privi- 
lege, and when refused that poor boon, " he preached through 
the grates of the window." 

Those dark ages of persecution have passed away, and 
with them, that civil and religious despotism which, prior to, 
and during our revolutionary era, brooded over this fair land. 
But even now, from Protestant, Lutheran, Sweden and 
Denmark, innocent people are imprisoned for preaching and 
practising Baptist sentiments. If persecution in the primi- 
tive days of Christianity attested its truth, then surely, it must 
be a good argument in favor of " the faith once delivered 
unto the saints," at this time. 

4. The eminent men who have been Baptists. In citing 
distinguished names, we only imitate our friends of different 
principles. It is our cardinal principle, that the gospel must 
be preached to men, without distinction of color or condition 
in society. With this principle we have been blessed by 
God. It is the remark of Macaulay, in his Miscellanies, 
that u though there were many clever men in England, du- 
ring the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were 
only two great creative minds; one of these minds produced 
the " Paradise Lost," and the other, the M Pil arrim's Progress." 
Says Dr. Williams, " we would append to this magnificent 
eulogy on Milton and Bunyan, the remark, that the one was 
a Baptist preacher, and the other a full convert to our views 



160 History and Principles of Baptists. 



of the christian church and i(s ordinances." Milton, while 
Latin secretary to Cromwell, distinguished himself by writ- 
ing letters in behalf of the persecuted Waldenses, who, as 
Jones, in his Church History, well declares, " brought up 
their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
but they neither sprinkled nor immersed them, under the 
notion of administering christian baptism, — they were, in a 
word, so many distinct churches of Anti-pmdo -baptists." 
The most beautiful of the many memoirs of English history, 
was written by a Baptist, — " the Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson, 
one of the judges of Charles I, is the work of his widow, 
the pure, the devout and high-souled Lucy Hutchinson." 
It is the character of a Baptist minister, whom Pope had in 
his mind, when he penned the lines — 

''Let modest Foster, if he will, excel 
Ten metropolitants in preaching well." 

Even Dryden, who bitterly satirized the poor Ana-Bap- 
tists, while himself engaged in prostituting his genius to lust, 
in the shameless courts of Charles II, sprung, it is supposed, 
from a Baptist family. Sir Henry Vane, at one time gov- 
ernor at Boston, and known in the history of the Pequot 
war, was a member of Parliament when Roger Williams 
made an application for a charter for Rhode Island and 
Providence Plantations, and being himself a member of a 
Baptist church, he exerted himself in procuring the chaiter. 
General Harrison, who, with Vane, was living and active in 
the scenes of Cromwell's Protectorate, was also a Baptist. 
About the same time lived Thomas De Lanne and Benjamin 
Keach, " immortal names, illustrious men." In later times, 
that prince of good men, great John Howard, the philan- 
thropist, is supposed to have been a Baptist in principle, if not 
in practice. Of pulpit orators, have we not reason for gratu- 
lation when we call to mind Robert Hall, the favorite of Sir 
James Macintosh, and the object of Lord Brougham's ad- 
miration: who, like "Bishop Taylor, had the eloquence of 
an orator, the fancy of a poet, the accutenessof a schoolman, 
the profoundness of a philosopher, and the piety of a saint;" 
Christmas Evans, whose untutored genius kindled anew the 
holy enthusiasm of the Welch Baptists; Jonathan Maxcey, 
the accomplished and eloquent President, successively, of 
Brown University, R. I., Union College, N. Y., and South 
Carolina College; William Staughton, the discriminating 



History and Principles of Baptists, 161 



and classic editor of Virgil's JEneid, and the first President 
of Columbian College, D. C; Samuel Stillman, the gifted 
pastor of the first Baptist church in the "Athens" of Ameri- 
ca, and Robert B. Semple, Jesse Spencer, Stephen Gano, 
Henry Holcombe, William T. Brantley, Jeremiah Chaplin 
and Stephen Chapin, all of whom equally deserve the proud 
distinction of being devoted to the first principles of Christ's 
kingdom; all true Baptists. Of theologians, too, are there 
not some names worthy of a place on the enduring tablet of 
undying history? Andrew Fuller, whose works " have pro- 
fited the evangelical church of our country, and of every 
other where the English language is spoken;" Abraham 
Booth, Abraham Carson, John Foster, Joseph Ivimey and 
John Ryland. Among missionaries and translators of the 
scriptures, " the name of William Carey, at least, will not 
be easily eclipsed by any later luminaries. His was the 
name of one of those men whose doings go to make history, if 
they do not write it." The future historian will find no diffi- 
culty, from our present times, in selecting such names, lay 
and clerical, as now adorn our ranks, whose talents would 
be an honor to any assembly of believers in Christendom. 
We come now to a brief statement of 
II. What are the principles for which we are 

CONTENDING? 

1. Sound doctrine. The pure dialect of the gospel is an 
element of all real truth. It is not for phrases we contend. 
But it is for the truth of scriptural phrases. Baptists in 
England are divided into general and particular. Here there 
is no such distinction, except in isolated cases. We are gen- 
erally agreed to meet and labor upon a common platform, 
whatever may be our interpretations as to the nature and ex- 
tent of the atonement; all agreeing in the capability and 
sufficiency of the atonement, "to cleanse from all sin." 
The pivot of our faith is sovereign grace, manifested through 
the mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ. Whatever 
views of truth which do not derogate from this pivot, nor 
deny the trinity and a future state of rewards and punish- 
ments, are allowed, though not always encouraged or sus- 
tained. 

2. Pure practices. We maintain, that history, sacred and 
profane, philosophy, sacred and classical, logic and reason, 
all teach that Christ was immersed, and that the only correct 
rendering of Baptizo is to immerse. We simply contend, 



162 History and Principles of Baptists. 



that that practice which Luther and Calvin, Wesley and 
Chalmers, BloomfieJd and Macknight, Doddridge and 
Campbell, say was the primitive practice, should now be 
followed strictly, in obedience to divine command. If bap- 
tism be a qualification for communion, and baptism be only 
administered by dipping the whole body under water, then 
it is no less true, that only those who are baptized can com- 
mune together, which sciipture principles and the law of 
self-preservation demand. 

3. The voluntary discharge of, duty. Always, and every 
where, have Baptists defended the doctrine, that no human 
force should compel them to bow the knee in prayer : to at- 
tend upon an established service: or to support a pensioned 
ministry. That reason and revelation alone should decide 
man's duty; that man should be amenable to God and his 
word, and is punishable only after a fair hearing before his 
peers, for any infraction of scripture requirements. 

4. Religious toleration. Never having had power, Bap- 
tists w T ere never intolerant; always the subjects of persecu- 
tion, they have ever hated and dreaded its exercise. Liberty 
of conscience has been their watchword. Though desig- 
nated as a plebian sect, by the historian and statesman Ban- 
croft, we have always maintained the maxim, and practised 
its teaching, of "the greatest good of the greatest number." 
In the only colony or territory over which our ancestors have 
ever had control, we have scorned persecution for opinion's 
sake, and have permitted Catholic, Jew, Quaker, Mohame- 
tan and Infidel, to worship or not to worship, as conscience 
dictated. How different was the treatment exhibited towards 
us by the Reformer Zuinglius. "When the magistrates 
of Zurich consulted him on the fate of some poor Baptists, 
4 drown the dippers,'" said the Reformer. " Our churches, 
in a mass, were at one time known and denounced in Great 
Britain, as the advocates of religious toleration, — a claim 
once denied by the wisest statesmen and the most distin- 
guished divines, as an impracticable delusion and a most 
pestilent heresy. Even in that period of their history which 
has been most exposed to misrepresentation, the share which, 
with other and Pcedo-baptist sects, they took in the Peasant 
war of Germany, it was from their love of freedom that they 
erred, if an error it were, when they rose against the grind- 
ing exactions of the privileged classes. And so much was 
the love of liberty an element in that movement, that Ma- 



History and Principles of Baptists. 



163 



dame de Stael pronounces the Ana-Baptists in that war, 
rather a political than religious sect. Voltaire declares, that 
the manifesto in which the hard-handed peasants told their 
grievances, was one that a Lycurgus might have signed, 
such was its justice. Luther's own mind seems to have felt 
the force and truth of many of their complaints against their 
rulers; and that acute and learned investigator, Nabuhr, the 
historian of Rome, lately deceased, declared that ' the right 
in the beginning was undoubtedly with them.' To have 
toiled and suffered thus in the cause of civil and religious 
freedom, might well entitle our community to a more liberal 
and just award than they have yet received at the hands of 
the popular literature in their own and our times." 

5. A republican form of government. Independent and 
congregational is our present form of church government. 
We desire to perpetuate this form, as nearest resembling 
the ancient model. The officers are few in number, and 
their duties simple. In all matters of discipline, the assem- 
bly of believers is the final appeal; and associations and 
conventions are regarded merely as advisory councils or ex- 
ecutive committees. The word of God describes the quali- 
fications of officers, and the proper mode of settling all 
disciplinary cases. Our form of government has been called 
u democratic republican." If this title be correct, it is not 
borrowed fiom the political world, for it is the current opinion 
that Thomas Jefferson derived his first conceptions of our 
present form of civil government, from the mode of trans- 
acting ecclesiastical business in a Baptist church. For such 
a government, civil and religious, we have always contended. 

Such is a plain statement of the prominent points in our 
history and principles. It will, therefore, plainly appear, that 
we are not followers, either of Martin Luther, of Germany, 
or of John Calvin, of Geneva, or of John Wesley, of Eng- 
land, or of Gregory XVI, of Rome. We were never Re- 
formers, and are not now protestants, as that term primarily 
was used. For the " writers of the established church of 
Holland, allow the remote antiquity of our sentiments in 
that country, as running down to an earlier date, by far, than 
that of the Reformation." And Sir James Macintosh, in 
his ? Cabinet History of England," speaks of the Baptists 
as being composed of a " variety of sects, — some of ancient, 
though unascertained origin, and who have been confounded 
with the Minister Ana- Baptists." We disclaim the title of 



164 History and Principles of Baptists. 

protestants, not "because we have any fellowship with the 
errors of the church of Rome, — against which different na- 
tional religious establishments protested, — but because we 
claim to be the representatives of the primitive churches, and 
never have been in any other relation to the great Apostacy 
sjnce its rise, than that of martyrs." 

In the constitution of a Baptist church, conversion is essen- 
tial to membership. No child can be born a Baptist, and no 
adult can be admitted to commune until the christian char- 
acter is formed. Membership, therefore, is matter of choice. 
This unfettered freedom of judgment and will exists in the 
appointment of officers, and in the modes and seasons of 
public worship. With these no external power can inter- 
fere, — no general standard is recognized. So that a wide 
difference is seen between the churches of Rome and of 
England, and the Baptist church. Against all laws and 
formularies, courts of inquisition, and acts of uniformity, the 
Baptists have always protested ; and the Lord grant, that they 
may ever contend for their ancient faith. Whether among 
the rocks of Piedmont, or hidden in the valleys of Wales; 
whether in the death waves of "fair Zurich's waters," or in 
a cold and cheerless Virginia prison; whether hunted down 
and burnt at the stake by monks or archbishops, or govern- 
ing the free and tolerant colony of Rhode Island and Provi- 
dence Plantations; whether cursed, hated and anathematized 
by popes and kings, or favored only by the independent and 
magnanimous great men of the world, it has mattered not. 
Our banner has been unfurled to every breeze, in every re- 
gion, where an advocate of our principles could be found. 
On the one side has been inscribed, " One Lord, one faith, 
one baptism," and, on the other, " God and Liberty." Amen ! 



Note. — Free i^e has been made, in writing out this discourse, of 
whatever Baptist books or treatises, on ecclesiastical history, were in the 
speaker's possession, and he has taken pains to place the proper marks of 
quotation. He may say, however, that the following works have been 
consulted : Jones' Ch. History, Gieseler, Backus, Hinton, Taylor's Lives of 
Virginia Eapt. Ministers, Bancroft's History of IT. S., Macaulay's Miscel- 
lanies, Baptist Library, Baptist Triennial Register, 1836, Encyclopaedia of 
Religious Knowledge, Americana Encyclopcedia, and others. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL, V. September, 1846, NO, 9, 



PRIVATE OFFENCES: 

OR THREE STEPS IN THE SETTLEMENT OF PRIVATE DIFFI- 
CULTIES REBUKE, REPENTANCE AND REMISSION. 

A Sermon by Rev. A. W. Chambliss, of Alabama. 

" Take heed to yourselves : if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him ; and 
if he repent, forgive him.'''' — Luke xvii: 3. 

My brethren: — You are all familiar with the history of 
Moses, and with the circumstances under which he was 
commissioned to enter the court of Pharaoh. What must 
have been the feelings of the man of God, setting forth upon 
an embassy, at once humane, reasonable and divine, when 
he was told by him {£ who seeth the end from the begin- 
ning;" " I am sure the king of Egypt will not let you go ; 
no, not by a mighty hand." With what thoughts of aston- 
ishment and pain must he have received this intelligence! 
Astonishment, that worms of the dust — that creatures of an 
hour, should presume to withstand the orders of their God ! 
and pain, that he must still press a duty, which the pride 
and selfishness of man would assuredly disregard! 

Happy were it for the world, however, if this were the 
only instance of manifest rebellion against the divine man- 
dates. The day of eternity will attest concerning full many 
a minister of the gospel, that which was said to the prophet 
Ezekiel: "Thou son of man, the children of thy people 
were still talking about thee, by the walls and in the doors 
of the houses; and spake one to another, — every one with 
his brother; saying, come I pray thee, and hear what is the 
word that cometh forth from the Lord! And they came unto 
thee as the people cometh, and they sat before thee as my 
people, and they heard thy words, but they would not do 
them. Lo! thou wast unto them as a very lovely song, of 



166 



Private Offences. 



one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an in- 
strument; for they heard thy words, but they did them not." 
Yes, the people come in crowds to the sanctuary, — they sit 
in breathless silence in the house of God, — a living interest 
beams forth in every countenance, — they are wrapped in ad- 
miration of the words and sentiments of the divine messen- 
ger; one would conclude that they delighted to know the 
law, — that it is an holy nation, a peculiar people, zealous of 
good works. But alas! alas! of what multitudes is it true, 
"they hear thy words, but they will not do them." 

Reflections similar to these have obtruded themselves 
upon our thoughts, whilst contemplating that divine law, 
which we propose for your consideration in the present dis- 
course, "To err is human," and to resent an injury is also 
human. Yes, it is the first dictate of fallen, corrupt, human 
nature, to revenge a wrong. Its language is, "an eye for an 
eye, and a tooth for a tooth." " I will do so to the man as 
he hath done to me." Christianity is the very opposite of 
this. Its golden maxim is, "love that suffereth long and is 
kind." (1 Cor. xiii: 4.) It teaches, " be not overcome with 
evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. xii: 21.) "If 
thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him ; if he repent, 
forgive him." Men hear these capitals of love, — they ad- 
mire the divine characters, — they laud the god-like senti- 
ments: but alas! "they do them not." 

May heaven grant, my brethren, that we have been mis- 
taken in the fears we have this day indulged. Happy for 
me, — thrice happy shall it be for you — for this whole com- 
munity, if our gloomy apprehensions are without founda- 
tion. Unspeakably happy shall it be for the church of the 
living God, if, when "thy brother shall trespass against thee, 
thou shalt rebuke him; if he repent, thou shalt forgive him." 

In the elucidation of the text before us, we propose an ex- 
amination of three questions: First. What is 4he first duty 
of the aggrieved? Secondly. What is the duty of the ag- 
gressor? Thirdly. What is the second and last duty of the 
aggrieved? These three questions involve the whole divine 
law in the settlement of private difficulties: rebuke, repent- 
ance and remission. Let us consider 

I. The first duty of the aggrieved. — "If thy brother tres- 
pass against thee, rebuke him." 

And here permit us to call your special attention to the 



Private Offences. 



167 



character of the offence to which allusion is had in the text. 
In strict propriety, men commit three kinds of offences: 
those which are public; those which are both public and 
private; and those which are strictly private. To the first 
class belong drunkenness, profanity, Sabbath-breaking, idol- 
atry and such like ; because, they are not so much against 
any other individual particularly, as against the whole com- 
munity equally. Of the second description, we mean such 
as at the same time violate public good, and infringe private 
rights, as slander, murder, and all injury publicly inflicted 
upon the feelings, person or reputation of another. Decep- 
tion, fraud, private abuse, and every species of crime perpe- 
trated on the part of one individual toward another in their 
private intercourse, which is unknown to any besides them- 
selves individually, and which could affect none others, if 
settled between themselves, — these properly belong to the 
third class. Nevertheless, since it behooves society to take 
cognizance of every offence that comes under its observa- 
tion, the ordinary distinction, which is sufficient for all ordi- 
nary purposes, is simply between public and private offences. 

The rule in our text has allusion only to the latter de- 
scription of trespasses. Public offences, in so far as they are 
public, come not under our private jurisdiction. That au- 
thority alone, of whose laws they are a violation, has the 
right to dispose of them. It is only in the case of private 
wrongs, that as individuals, we have the right to administer 
rebuke. It is only of such, that as individuals, we can de- 
mand repentance. It is only to such, that as individuals, 
we can extend forgiveness. " If thy brother trespass against 
thee, (in thy private and individual capacity,) even seventy 
times seven in a day, and turn saying, I repent, thou shalt 
forgive him." (Matt, xviii: 21,22; Luke xvii: 4.)* No 
private person has the power, in his individual capacity, to 

*Can this expression, by any possibility, refer to public offences? We 
have known none, even the most lenient in church discipline, who were 
willing, or even considered it to be their duty, to retain such frequent and 
habitual violaters of the laws of Christianity and the church, within their 
communion, notwithstanding their repentance. If such were the case, the 
consequences would be fatal to religion. By the consent of universal prac- 
tice this text is therefore shewn to refer not to public, but to private of- 
fences. Upon what authority then, do we censure a brother for not re- 
buking a public offender ? And upon what authority does the church retain 
a public offender in her communion, even though he should repent? The 
language of our Lord does not relate to public but to private wrongs. 



188 



Private Offences. 



forgive drunkenness, Sabbath -breaking, profanity, &c. ; and 
therefore, he can neither demand, nor accept of repentance 
as its satisfaction. The law of Jesus Christ is, " if thy 
brother trespass against thee rebuke him." 

Let it also be remarked, the text supposes that one brother 
may offend against another. In the present state of human 
imperfection, — where our education, habits and interests are 
so widely dissimilar, and often so pointedly conflicting, it 
seems morally ''impossible, but that offences should come:" 
(Luke xvii : 1,) and that which often renders them the more 
painful, is the reflection, that he who is pledged to us by a 
thousand tender considerations, with his own hand inflicted 
the wound. The betrayal of fraternal confidence, — the dis- 
appointment of fondly cherished expectations, — the blasting 
of highest hopes, — the withering of sweetest love; and all 
these evils produced by a brother's hand. Ah! it is this that 
renders the blow insupportable : " It was not mine enemy 
that reproached me; then I could have borne it. Neither was 
it he that did magnify himself against me; then I would 
have hid myself from him. But it was thou, mine equal, 
my guide and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel 
together, and walked unto the house of God in company." 
(Ps.lv: 12-14.) Here is the most painful fact in the his- 
tory of the case. " It was my brother that defamed me, — 
that defrauded me in business transactions, — that deceived 
my expectations, — that insulted my feelings, by flat contra- 
dictions, by unjust insinuations, or by unholy suggestions, — 
yes, it was my brother, from whom I had the right to look 
for better things, who " hath lifted up his heel against me." 
The affliction is deep. The grief is incalculable. What 
shall I do? To this question, the words of our Lord are 
given as the answer: "If thy brother trespass against thee, 
rebuke him; if he repent, forgive him." 

The law of the text is opposed to retaliation. Retaliation 
is the devil's theology. It has nothing good, — nothing holy 
in it. The merest dog would bite, if one were to strike him. 
To man, and to man alone, — holy and refined — of all the 
beings of this world, it belongs to observe the principles of 
the sacred volume: "Say not, I will do so to him as he 
hath done to me ; I will reward the man according to his 
works." "Recompense to no man evil for evil." "Dearly 
beloved, avenge not yourselves; but rather give place unto 



Private Offences. 



169 



wralh: for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith 
the Lord." (Prov. xxiv: 29; Rom. xii: 17-19.) 

The text is equally opposed to retailing the wrong 
through the community. Alas! alas! for this world, that 
men are so much apter to whisper the faults of their neigh- 
bors to any body else, than they are to tell them to the 
offender himself. An irrascible temper, with a secret, unbri- 
dled tongue, makes a dangerous friend and a deadly enemy. 
A tattler is a mortal gangrene upon the vitals of society, for 
whom no odium is a sufficient punishment. Had men the 
moral courage of an infant, — had they the independence and. 
boldness of innocence itself, they would sooner suffer decapi- 
tation than breathe to the prejudice of a brother. "Thou 
shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy peo- 
ple." "Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself, and 
discover not the secret to another, lest he that hear thee put 
thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away." " If thy 
biother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault 
between thee and him alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast 
gained thy brother." (Lev. xix: 16; Prov. xxv: 9, 10; 
Math, xviii: 15.) 

Nor yet may we treasure up the injury in our own hearts. 
To conceal the offence in our own bosom, until it festers in 
the blood and poisons all the fountains of life, is not less at 
variance with scriptural authority, than is back-biting and 
retaliation. O! what a bane to human happiness, is an evil 
cherished in the soul. It bewilders the imagination — it em- 
bitters the affections — it corrupts the heart — it perveits the 
tongue — it palsies the hand — it stifles animation in the birth — 
it spreads blighting and mildew over the fairest prospects of 
the community. It is an universal injury. It an injury to 
the aggrieved — it is an injury to the aggressor — it is an inju- 
ry to the whole society. " Thou shalt not hate thy brother 
in thy heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, 
and not suffer sin upon him." " Therefore, take heed to 
thyself, if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him: if 
he repent, forgive him." (Lev. xvii: 17; Luke xvii: 3.) 

But what are we to understand by rebuke, in this place? 
Does it mean to "chastise" the offender? No. Does it 
mean a harsh and bitter censure? No. Does it mean a 
severe and unkind accusation, — "rendering railing for rail- 
ing, and reviling for reviling"? No. It means a mild, a 



170 



Private Offences. 



gentle, an earnest, and an affectionate expostulation : adapted 
to show the offender his fault, in its reality, its enormity, and 
its sinfulness. 

The manner of reproving, is as clearly defined in the 
scriptures, as is the duty of it; and men are equally bound 
to observe the one, as to perform the other. " We may not 
do evil that good may come." If we are commanded to 
"rebuke with all authority" (Tit. ii: 5,) we are also to "re- 
prove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine" 
(2 Tim. iv : 2,) and a violation of the latter rule is not less 
sinful, than is a neglect of the former. "The work of 
heaven may not be done by a tongue set on fire of hell. 
Has Christ need of mad men? or shall we talk deceitfully 
and passionately for him? As a potion given too hot scalds 
the patient and does more harm than good; so, many a re- 
proof, good for the matter of it, has been spoiled by its irreg- 
ular management." The divine law is, "Brethren, if a man 
be overtaken in a fault, ye that are spiritual, restore such an 
one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou 
also be tempted." "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but 
grievous words stir up anger." (Gal. vi: I; Prov. xv: 1.) 

What object do we seek in reproving a brother? The 
answer to this question will suggest the rule by which it 
should be done. Do we aim to convince him of his fault? 
Do we desire to lead him to repentance? Do we seek to 
recover him from his error, and to restore him to that place 
in our confidence and affection, from which, by transgression, 
he fell? In vain may we attempt the accomplishment of 
these objects by railing and acrimony. "Bitterness and 
wrath" are not the instruments with which to perform the 
works of religion. As latent heat occasions more pain than 
light, so a violent and sour temper aggravates the wound, 
rather than mollifies it. A look of tenderness and pity, from 
him who said, "learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in 
heart," broke the spirit of an erring Peter, and "he went out 
and wept bitterly," (Luke xxii: 61-2;) whereas, the haugh- 
tiness of Jeptha involved the tribes in civil war, in which 
not les3 than " two and forty thousand " Ephraimites perish- 
ed. (Judg. xii: 1-6.) St. Paul states a good rule in all 
cases of offence, viz: to "instruct" the offender "with meek- 
ness" — that is, without anger; and he positively commands 
that " the servant of the Lord must not strive," — must not 



Private Offences. 



171 



bring a bad spirit to the reclaiming a sinner from the error of 
his way. (2 Tim. ii : 24.) " The wrath of man worketh 
not the righteousness of God." (James i: 20.) If we would 
do God's work, we must do it in God's way ; and that way 
is, to " reprove with long suffering ," and to " restore with 
meekness." 

The apostle refers this question back to ourselves, that 
from thence also, we may be admonished of our duty to an 
erring brother, "considering thyself, lest thou also be tempt- 
ed." He has fallen to-day; thou mayest fall to-morrow. 
What, if thou thyself wert the offender? Wouldst thou, that 
he should suffer sin upon thee to thy injury? Wouldst thou, 
that he should indulge the recollection of it — brooding over 
it, till he could see nothing good in thee, think nothing good 
of thee, nor speak anything good concerning thee? Wouldst 
thou, that he should emblazon it abroad, upon the wings of 
the wind, that all the world might read thy weakness, and 
hate thee therefor? Wouldst thou, that he should approach 
thee with an air of superiority and vaunting, as though he 
rejoiced in thy downfall? or yet with railing and bitterness, 
with harshness and severity? In the honesty and candor of 
your own judgment, were not all this decidedly wrong? 
Then, be reminded of what is due to him who hath trespass- 
ed against thee. " Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would 
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them : for this is 
the law and the prophets." (Math, vii : 21.) 

There is yet an additional consideration, that may aid us 
to understand our duty towards an offender. It rarely fails, 
in private difficulties, especially if they have been of any 
considerable standing, that both parties are more or less in- 
volved in the blame. Perhaps, our deportment was at first 
more careless than strict propriety would justify. Perhaps, 
we ourselves threw some temptation, a " stone of stumbling 
and a rock of offejnce," in the way of the transgressor. 
Perhaps, we were over sensitive, and received an offence 
where it was not intended. Perhaps, we indulged a need- 
less suspicion, and expressed an unjustifiable doubt of his 
character and motives. Perhaps, we exhibited undue and 
untimely censoriousness and resentment, by one or all of 
which, he was provoked to wrath. Thus, in a thousand 
ways, we may have been, unintentionally, accessory to the 
identical offence of which we now complain. And should 



172 



Private Offences. 



not this remind us not to be too rigid and uncompromising? 
Should it not teach us the utmost forbearance and tender- 
ness? Does it not lay a proper foundation, upon which to 
approach him, — not with harshness and severity, — but with 
our own concessions and acknowledgments? Does it not 
prepare us to be satisfied with the first and slighest marks of 
genuine repentance? As, on the one hand, there can be no 
more effectual and felicitous method of exciting feelings of 
ingenuous sorrow in the heart of the offender, than by ap- 
proaching him with tenderness and pity, — conceding and re- 
gretting, that we ourselves may have been the unfortunate 
occasion of his sin; so, on the contrary, nothing seems more 
unreasonably severe, unjust and oppressive, than harshness 
and bitterness towards him, whom our own misdemeanor 
may really have led into transgression. Reason, religion and 
common justice enter their claims, and urge us to rebuke 
with mildness, gentleness and long suffering.* 

Say not, my brethren, that "the offence is one of peculiar 
aggravation, and that it will be forever impossible to receive 
adequate reparation." This may all be true: but surely it 
can be no reason why the offender should be denied the best 
satisfaction in his power. Especially, it can be no reason 
why we should neglect the positive duty of the text. The 
magnitude of his crime, is no excuse for our sin. His tres- 
pass against us, is no apology for our trespass against God. 
Least of all, may we cherish malice and ill-will in our hearts, 
merely because the full amount of our dues cannot be paid 
us. We are responsible to God for the performance of his 
commandments, and for their performance in the prescribed 
manner. Our Lord seemed to anticipate, that partly from 



* St. Paul commanded Titus to " rebuke sharply." (Tit. i : 13.) Let us 
not, however, understand him to mean angrily. Indeed, this expression has 
no allusion to private offences. (1) It was addressed to Titus in his public 
and ministerial character. (2) It referred to the scandals for which the 
Cretians were generally notorious, (v. 12.) 

Nevertheless, there may be instances where even private offences should 
be rebuked more sharply. (1) Where the same offence has been repeated 
frequently. (2) Where the offender was evidently instigated, prompted and 
supported by others, and " sins as with a cart-rope." (3) Where it was 
manifestly perpetrated with premeditation and design. (4) Where no other 
form of reproof will induce repentance. After all, however, let us not 
confound sternness, earnestness, and pointedness, with anger, resentment 
and ill-will. The latter, the scriptures wholly disallow ; the former, they 
permit. The former is the sense of the apostle, in Tit. i : 13. 



Private Offences. 



173 



this cause, and partly from other considerations, men would 
be prone to defer the great duty of the text, and therefore, 
lising in all the majesty of his divine nature, and investing 
himself with all the authority of the Godhead, he enforced 
it with peculiar emphasis and caution, "take heed to your- 
selves, if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; if 
he repent, forgive him." 

Nor is the question now, as to whose duty it is to make 
the first approach, — whether his who committed, or his who 
received the injury. Whatever reason there may be in the 
ordinary language of men, that "it is the duty of the offend- 
er to make the first approach and confess his fault," sure we 
are, that nothing of this can be found in the sacred scrip- 
tures. Throughout, they proceed upon the supposition, that 
he who hath trespassed against his brother, would not hesi- 
tate to sin against his God: and hence their general tenor 
agrees with the text, and says to the .aggrieved, "if thy bro- 
ther trespass against thee, rebuke him," — "go and tell him 
his fault between him and thee alone." 

Grant that " the offender may already know that he has 
done wrong." Did he learn this from us, in a direct and 
friendly effort to bring him to repentance? If he did not, our 
duly is still unperformed. The object of reproof is not alone 
to convince the transgressor of sin. It includes in it every 
reasonable and religious endeavor to lead him to a full and 
hearty confession of his fault, and an honest and final restora- 
tion to that place in our love and confidence, from which he 
has fallen by reason of tiansgression. Nor do men act upon 
the principle involved in this objection, in any of the tians- 
actions of life. Our debtor owes us a large amount, and he 
already knows it. Nevertheless, if he do not promptly and 
punctually meet his engagements, we avail ourselves of every 
lawful measure to bring him to do so. All men know that 
they are sinners against God, but no christian considers this 
a reason why he should not use every possible exertion to 
lead them with tears and contrition to humble themselves 
before him, and yield him a faithful service. Thus, notwith- 
standing thy offending brother may already have a know- 
ledge of his trespass against thee, thou art bound by the law 
of the text to use every exertion to bring him to repentance. 
"If he trespass against thee, rebuke him." 

Is the disposition of the offender refractory? So much 
23— Vol. V. 



174 ' Private Offences. 

the better reason why we should go to him at once, and why 
we should observe the greater caution and prudence in our 
approach. The most adverse spirit may be softened and 
won by mildness and affection. The meekness and gentle- 
ness of Christ, — the long suffering and patience of the gos- 
pel, — these are powerful instruments, with w T hich to subdue 
and tame the ferocious tempers of madmen. He that goes 
forth from his closet weeping, bearing precious seed, shall 
doubtless return again with joy, bringing his sheaves with 
him. " If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." Is 
not this at once a sufficient motive, and a sufficient encour- 
agement, to the most patient and vigorous effort? If, after 
all, he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two 
more, prudent and pious brethren, that in the mouth of two 
or three witnesses every word may be established. If still 
he refuse to harken to their peity and counsel, tell it to the 
church. If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto 
thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Math, xviii: 15- 
17.) Here is the last act, after which alone thou art exon- 
erated. Not until every other expedient has failed, may we 
bring it to the church. "Every effort that ingenuity can in- 
vent, affection prompt, or patience conduct, must be made 
before it is brought to be investigated by the brethren at 
large." Nor, until their combined piety, wisdom and coun- 
sel have failed to induce his repentance, may we set him at 
naught, and regard him " as an heathen man and a publi- 
can." 

My brethren, with what arguments shall we impress this 
duty upon your minds? You have heard the fame of 
"faith," by which the ancients subdued kingdoms — wrought 
righteousness — obtained promises — stopped the mouths of 
lions — quenched the violence of fire — escaped the edge of 
the sword — out of weakness were made strong — waxed va- 
liant in fight — turned to flight the armies of the aliens. You 
have tasted the sweetness of "hope," — immortal hope — hope 
that comes to all, irradiates the darkness of the tempestuous 
firmament, and whispers peace to the troubled soul, amid 
the storms and commotions of life's dangerous voyage. But 
greater far, and sweeter, is " charity," — that charity that suf- 
fereth long, and yet is kind — charity that beareth all things- 
charity that believeth all things — charity that hopeth all 
things — charity that endureth all things — charity that cover- 



Private Offences. 



175 



eth a multitude of sins. "Now abideth faith, hope, charity: 
and the greatest of these is charity." (1 Cor. xiii: 13.) And 
yet we will show you what is better than charily itself, if it 
only lies concealed in the heart. " Open rebuke is better 
than secret love." (Prov. xxvii: 5.) Here is the climax 
formed and completed. Faith, hope, charity, open rebuke — 
these four, and the last is first. Magnify faith as we may, — 
above it exalt hope, — above hope extol charity, — and yet, 
"open rebuke is better than secret love." Would you be a 
faithful christian? Would you perform the best office to an 
erring brother? Would you do the best act in the recogni- 
tion of the christian religion? Would you promote the 
glory of God, and the interest of his cause? "Then take 
heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, le- 
buke him; if he repent forgive him."* But 

II. The imperative duty of the aggressor, demands our 
attention. " If he repent" fyc. 

"If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest 
that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift 
before the altar, go thy way, first be reconciled to thy bro- 
ther, and then come and otter thy gift. Agree with thine 
adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him: lest 
at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the 
judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 
Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out 
thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (Math, 
v: 23-26.) 

Such is the language of the divine law, with regard to the 
offender: and by it we are forcibly reminded, that God looks 
with displacency upon all the quarrels and contentions — upon 
all the bickerings and animosities of men, especially of chris 
tian men ; nay, that he regards them with the most implacable 
and sovereign abhorrence. They are a species of wickedness 
upon which he looks, only with the most irreconcilable hatred. 
What, though men may praise thy bravery and stoutheart- 
edness — thy manhood and dexterity in all the bloody trans- 
actions of street pugillism, or the more cool and deliberate 



*" The Jews have a saying, that one of the causes of the ruin of their 
nation was, 'no man reproved another. ,'" — A. Clark, on Math, xviii : 17. 

The Rev. Mr. Wesley said, " I have never heard or read of any consid- 
erable revival of religion, which was not attended with a spirit of reprov- 
ing. I believe it cannot be otherwise."— Ser. Ixx. 



176 



Private Offences. 



crime of duelling? In the estimation of the deity, " he that 
hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know, that no mur- 
derer hath eternal life abiding in him." Wherefore, " let 
all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and all evil 
speaking be put away from you, with all malice." (I John 
iii: 15; Eph. iv: 31.) 

From hence, it is also apparent, that God takes greater 
delight in the peace of his children, than in all their sacri- 
fices. "God is love," by way of distinction; and he demands 
love, as an indispensable desideratum in his creatures. Be- 
sides this, all gifts and graces — all attainments and qualifica- 
tions — all deeds and sacrifices, are less than nothing and 
vanity. What, though we spake in all the tongues of men, 
and were eloquent in the dialects of angels? What, though 
we looked through the dark vista of future ages, and com- 
prehended the sublime mysteries of providence and grace, 
as the simple elements of the nursery? What, though we 
possessed faith that could dislodge mountains from their 
solid base, and plunge them headlong to the boiling deep? 
What, though all our stores were impoverished to feed the 
poor, and our bodies offered a burning sacrifice upon the 
martyr's consecrated altar? If destitute of love, we were 
poor — we were base in the sight of God. " To love our 
neighbor as ourselves, is more than all whole burnt offerings 
and sacrifices." " Behold how good and how pleasant it is, 
for brethren to dwell together in unity. There the Lord 
commands the blessing, even life forever more." (1 Cor. xiii: 
1-3; Markxii: 33; Ps. cxxxiii: 1-3.) 

Yet again, the divine rule before us, makes it the impera- 
tive duty of the transgressor to seek the speediest possible 
reconciliation with his aggrieved brother. Love is reflective, 
and binds equally upon him who is to be loved, as upon him 
who should love. If we are bound to love our neighbor, he 
is not less bound so to act that we can love him. As the 
eye is organized to admire beauty, and to loath its opposite; 
so, the soul, which is competent to love that which is amia- 
ble and excellent, is utterly incapable of loving that which 
is perverse and hateful. The whole responsibility of enmity 
and strife with an innocent man, is, therefore, thrown upon 
the guilty. With whatever displeasure the divine being be- 
holds the breach, it icsts alone upon the transgressor: and 
increases with every fruitless effort to bring him to repent- 



Private Offences. 



177 



ance. He is held amenable for all the evil consequences of 
the alienation. If sinners are hardened in their sins — if 
languishment in religion — if dishonor to the name of God, 
ensue from hence, it is all charged to his account: and will 
form a part of the fearful reckoning to which he will be 
summoned in the last day. This was evidently the senti- 
ment of the Psalmist. "If I have rewarded evil unto him 
that was at peace with me, let the enemy persecute my soul 
and take it: yea, let him tiead down my life in the earth, 
and lay mine honor in the dust." (Ps. vii : 4-5.) Thus 
also, " whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart 
from his house." (Prov. xvii: 13.) Here is the reason of 
that fearful sentence, " Wo to the world because of offences. 
It must needs be that offences come: but wo to that man by 
whom the offence cometh." (Math, xviii: 7.) It is this 
view of the subject that invests with such alarming empha- 
sis the words of our Lord, "agree with thine adversary 
quickly, while thou art in the way with him: lest at any 
time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, Jesus Christ, 
and the judge deliver thee to the officer, death, and thou be 
cast into the prison of hell. Yerily I say unto thee, thou 
shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the 
uttermost farthing," — till the last particle of the damage 
thou hast occasioned has been fully restored. It is the awful 
responsibility thus devolved upon the transgressor, that clothes 
with eternal sacredness and authority, the command, "let 
not the sun go down upon your wrath." (Eph. iv: 26.) 

The rule laid down for offenders is, "first be reconciled to 
thy brother , and then come and offer thy gift:" and it binds 
alike upon all, without respect to place, to age, to rank, to 
condition, to color, or to any other accident of life. No man 
dare pray, nor any man dare sleep in the face of this law. 
It stands like flaming sword of the cherubim between us 
and our pillow, and between us and the altar of grace. He 
that goes to the place of pra}^er with an unrepented sin, in- 
vites satan to his communion; and he that carries it to his 
pillow, invites a fiend to his chamber. The high and the 
low, the rich and the poor, the prince and the peasant, the 
white man and the black, are equally placed under its re- 
strictions. It is as stringent upon the master, towards his 
humblest slave, as upon any part of the creation of God. 
Yes ; we repeat it, if the master give unjustifiable offence to 



178 



Private Offences. 



the person, feelings, or character of his veriest menial, he is 
as imperatively bound to render him suitable satisfaction, as 
he would be to offer it to the President of these United 
States. Nay, farther, "it were better for him, that a mill 
stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were plunged 
into the bottomless deep, than that he should offend one of 
these little ones, that believe in Jesus, and yet refuse him 
satisfaction." (Math, xviii: 6.) Tell us not of the distinc- 
tions of this world. We know they exist; and we know 
also, that they are worldly, and will perish with the world. 
In eternity, when men stand in the presence of Him, with 
whom there is no respect of persons, if will avail nothing to 
speak of worldly relations and distinctions. The only ques- 
tion that will concern us in that hour, will be, " how far did 
you give to every man that which was just and equal?" If 
the divine law shall have been the directory to our feet, 
happy! unspeakably happy ! shall it be for us. If not, alas I 
alas! 

The scriptural condition of reconciliation with an aggrieved 
brother, is repentance: and it has the sanction of reason and 
common justice. In pecuniary transactions, the courts of 
equity provide an indemnity for the sufferer. Thus the 
universal sense of mankind determines what is right in our 
mutual intercourse, and decrees in favor of the injured per- 
son. But does not the principle apply equally to moral, as 
to pecuniary injuries? Is the law of righteousness less provi- 
dent of the person, feelings, or reputation of the aggrieved, 
than it is of his paltry and perishable gold? Surely not. 

Let us transfer the case to ourselves. Let us suppose that 
we ourselves are the scandalized. What would we that the 
offender should do? Had we suffered the wrong at his 
hands, would not our sense of right demand ample satisfac- 
tion? It is thus, that heaven has placed within our own 
breast, a monitor that pleads the cause of him whom our 
waywardness has injured : and ere we can refuse repentance 
for the wrong we have committed, violence must be done to 
our own moral sense. Nor yet is this all. 

The universal excuse, "that it is the duty of the offender 
to make the first approach, and confess his fault," is evidence 
that justice demands an equivalent for the transgression we 
have committed. This plea is urged by all men. We our- 
selves make it, when pressed to a speedy settlement of our 



Private Offences. 



179 



disputes. It is the voice of reason : and so distinct are its 
whispers, that multitudes almost fancy it is written with 
God's own hand, in golden capitals on the pages of the sa- 
cred volume. No, sirs, it is the voice of reason, speaking 
from the fleshy tables of the heart, to every transgressor, say- 
ing, " go to thy offended brother, saying, I repent." 

You will, however, understand something more by repent- 
ance, than a simple asking of pardon. We doubt not, that 
pardon may be sought in the true spirit, and with all the ac- 
companiments of ingenuous repentance. But what we 
intend is, that this is not always the case. There is such a 
thing as asking pardon out of mere compliment ; and more 
to save our character for good breeding, than to regain the 
friendship which has been rudely forfeited. It may be done 
where no sin is recognized — no evil is felt — no crime is de- 
plored : where there is an evident unconcern, if not a fiend- 
ish gratification, at the throes and throbbings of an injured 
heart. Who has not witnessed an instance of it, with a pre- 
face after this style: "Truly, my brother, you and I are a 
good deal alike — weak brethren. I had not thought that a 
man of your pretensions would have noticed such little 
things — that such trifles would have occasioned you so great 
pain. But since it is so, I ask your pardon." Is there in 
all this, the first emotion of true repentance? Does it con- 
tain a particle of that noble generosity which disdains to 
tread upon a worm, and which "honoreth them that fear the 
Lord?" Do we sincerely lament an injury, which we can 
intentionally aggravate, with the very petition of pardon? 
Suppose he is a weak brother. Is that a reason why we may 
insult him with the epithet of " Raca?" Suppose the offence 
was a trifle. So much the better reason why a magnanimous 
christian should not have committed it: and why, if he has 
done so, he should repent of it. The truth is, no act is un- 
important — no act can be considered a trifle, which may fray 
the silken cord that binds christian hearts in one. Nothing 
is a small matter, which tends to alienate the affections of a 
brother; nor do we envy that man his sentiments of love, 
who can sport with the wounds he has inflicted on the hum- 
blest child of God. Love is a delicately sensitive plant, and 
indigenous only to warm climates. It chills to the root 
under the cold north wind's breath. Pining, disease and 
death, are its inevitable fate ; under the pale and sickly influ- 



180 



Private Offences. 



ence of carelessness, taunting and contempt. The rudeness 
of the wild boar of the woods crushes all its fondly twining 
branches in the dust. Insulted love modestly bow 7 s assent 
of pardon to him who asks it with a jeer, and retires alone 
to its cloister to weep. " O my God, draw me not away with 
the wicked, nor with the workeis of iniquity, which speak 
peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts." 
"They speak vanity, every one with his neighbor: with 
flattering lips and a double heart do they speak." (Ps. xxviii: 
3; ib. xii: '2.) 

Ingenuous repentance implies a meek reception of re- 
proof. To rebuke with ail long suffering and authority, is a 
divine command. Nor is the manner of receiving reproof, 
less definitely described. "He that hateth reproof is brut- 
ish." (Prov. xii: 1.) £t He that hateth reproof sinneth." 
(Prov. x: 17.) Shall we do wrong, and then refuse to be 
told of it? Shall we fly into a rage, and fret against him 
whom God sends to us for our good. Grant that all the 
mildness and gentleness that could be desired, may not be 
employed. Grant, too, that we are not to blame, to the full 
extent with which we are charged. Full many a year of 
hard and cruel servitude was entailed upon the refractory 
Jew, who replied to the friendly rebuke of Moses, " who 
made thee a judge and ruler over us?" "When the timely 
admonition of Abigail threw a check upon David's passion, 
he blest God that sent her — he blest her counsel — and he 
blest her person. (1 Sam. xxv: 32-3.) "Let the righteous 
smite me," said the Psalmist, " it shall be a kindness: and let 
him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not 
break my head." (Ps. cxli: 5.) # 

Confession of fault enters into all true notions of repent- 
ance : and by this we mean, a full, free and hearty acknow- 
ledgment of our sins. Who does not know that there is 
such a thing as confession after the manner of some men 



* The marginal rendering of this verse is, " Let the righteous smite me 
kindly, and let him reprove me : let not the precious oil break my head," and 
refers to either the manner of reproving, or of receiving reproof. In the for- 
mer sense, it requires us to rebuke with mildness and affection ; in the lat- 
ter, to receive reproof with meekness and love. Reproof is an excellent oil, 
which may be neither abused nor despised. " As an ear-ring of gold, and an 
ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear." (Prov. 
xxv : 12.) It confers a double honor — honor upon him who gives it, and 
honor upon him who receives it. 



Private Offences. 



181 



paying their debts? parleying and postponing as long as pos- 
sible — then reducing the amount — and finally surrendering 
the balance with grudging and reluctant hands. A thousand 
imaginary and probable offsets must be investigated — a thou- 
sand accessory grievances must be supposed and weighed — a 
thousand concessions and promises must be extorted : and 
at length the whole affair is wound up, involved in more in- 
extricable difficulties than when the adjustment was first 
commenced ! Here is one of the fatal causes of that lament- 
able destitution of brotherly confidence and affection, which 
at present so universally afflicts the christian world. We are 
cursed with a spirit of moral and religious dishonesty in the 
churches. Under the pretence of confession, men actually 
cover their sins! Men disown their debts under the show of 
paying them! Under the pretence of giving to every man 
that which is just and equal, they in reality defraud them 
out of half their dues! Can there be in such conduct, the 
first sentiment of true repentance? Is it possible that honest 
pretence can comport with such religious smuggling? 
" Whoso covereth his sin shall not prosper. (Prov. xxviii : 

In pecuniary transactions, the principle of balancing ac- 
counts may be correct; because, there the indebtedness of 
every man is determined in view of the amount of dues and 
offsets in his favor. This, however, is not true in morals 
and religion. Here the action, and the whole of every ac- 
tion, must be considered separately, distinctly, and independ- 
ently of every other. There is no such thing as compound- 
ing and abstracting, as adding and dividing, in moral conduct. 
There is no such thing as half crime, or the fourth of a fault. 
The line has either been crossed, or it has not — the mark has 
been missed, or it has not. If it has not, it is nothing. If 
it has, it is transgression — it is sin. Nor can it be made more 
or less, by similar conduct in another. There may be cir- 
cumstantial differences in us, affecting the enormity of crime : 
but no train of circumstances can render sin any thing less 
than sin. Completeness enters into its very existence. The 
fault — the entire fault — without concealment — without dis- 
sembling — without disguising — without excusing — without 
balancing, must be freely and frankly acknowledged. If 
there have been mutual faults, each must confess — each 
must repent— each must be forgiven. " Confess your faults 
24— Yol. V. 



182 



Private Offences. 



one to another, and pray one for another." " Whoso con- 
fessed! and forsaketh his sin, shall find mercy." (James v: 
16; Prov. xxviii : 13.) 

Another leading and indispensable feature of genuine 
repentance , is restitution. Every sin involves two things, 
first, the act, and secondly, the evils of the act : and repent- 
ance is a sorrowful recognition of the act, to such an extent, 
and in such a degree, as that we shall be disinclined to re- 
peat it, on the one hand, and on the other, we shall be dis- 
posed, as far as possible, to repair the damage of the past. 
In scripture style, it is to "cease to do evil, and learn to do 
well," — to "break off from thy sins by righteousness," — to 
"turn, saying, I repent." This definition is equally true of 
our sins against a fellow-man, as of those which refer direct- 
ly to the deity. The private offence of one consists in chi- 
canery, extortion, fraudulent over-reaching, or the uniust 
retention of the honest dues of another: whereby he suffers 
great pecuniary detriment. A second has injured the repu- 
tation of his brother, by oppiobious epithets, calumnious 
charges, or defamatory insinuation. A third has inflicted a 
personal wound upon his fellow-man. In all such cases, 
repentance is to deplore the act, and, as far as lies in us, to 
indemnify the sufferer for the injury we have occasioned ; 
and we firmly incline to the opinion, that nothing short of 
this can be considered, or ought to be received, as repentance. 
What does it avail, to say to him whom our fraudulency has 
impoverished, or our prevarication, falsehood, or passion, has 
more than impoverished, "we are sorry," while we refuse to 
touch the burden under which he groans with the tip of the 
finger? It may be justly replied, "how much are you sor- 
ry? Are you sorry the whole amount of the damage? If 
so, repair it, and remove the cause of sorrow." 

The maxim has already become universal, that "the re- 
tainer of stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen, is equally 
guilty with the thief:" and we beg you to consider, whether 
the principle does not apply to every thing which has been 
unjustly taken away, and is still retained. It is not the ar- 
ticle, nor the person of the retainer, that constitutes the crime. 
It is the act of retention. Nor is it material to the argument 
in morals, whether the goods were stolen, or obtained by 
other dishonest means. If the original act of attainment 
was morally dishonest and wrong, no length of time in 



Private Offences. 



183 



which they are held, nor any plea upon which we hold 
them, can sanctify it and make it honest wealth. The same 
is true also of defamation. If the good name of another, 
which to him is above the price of rubies, has been rudely 
and unjustly taken away, the enormity of the crime rises 
with every successive moment of its retention; nor can there 
be any repentance for the act, which is thus virtually repeat- 
ed and persisted in, so long as we refuse to repair the damage 
which he has suffered at our hands. Sure we are, that such 
was not the repentance of Zaccheus. "And Zaccheus 
stood and said unto the Lord, behold Lord, the half of my 
goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken any thing from 
any man by false accusation^ I restore him four fold." 
(Luke xix: 8.) Nor was it the repentance of even the des- 
picable Judas. " Then Judas, which had betrayed him, 
when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and 
brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests 
and eiders, saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed 
the innocent blood; and he cast down the pieces of silver in 
the temple, and went and hanged himself." (Math, xxvii: 
3-5.)* 



* The learned and pious Dr. Scott, remarking upon Numb, v : 7, 8, says : 
" This law conclusively shows the absolute necessity of restitution, in one 
form or other, where actual poverty does not hinder ; either to the injured 
person, to his relations, to the poor, or to pious uses.'''' 

Says Dr. Clark, " No man should expect mercy at the hands of God, 
who refuses, when he has it in his power, to make restitution. Were he to 
weep tears of blood, both the justice and mercy of God would shut out his 
prayer, if he made not his neighbor amends for the injury he may have 
done him. The mercy of God, through the blood of the cross, can alone 
pardon his guilt : but no dishonest man can expect this, — and he is a dis- 
honest man who illegally holds the property or the reputation of another in 
his hands." — Append. Gen. xlii : in fine. 

" The fact that restitution, which under the old dispensation was so fre- 
quently mentioned, and so strenuously insisted upon, is not more directly 
inculcated in the New Testament, is owing to the circumstance, that it was 
considered a duty so generally known, and so freely admitted, as to require 
no farther mention." — Jahn, Arch. §252. 

Finally, should any doubt the compatibility of restitution with the idea 
of free forgiveness, we have only to refer such to what was before remark- 
ed, as to the act and the evils of transgression — a distinction so obvious as 
not to require explanation. Restitution concerns only the latter : whereas 
the former can be reached only by forgiveness. A striking illustration of 
the harmony of these two points, is afforded us in the atonement, by which 
complete satisfaction is made to God for all the sins of believers, and yet 
in such a sense, as not in the least to preclude the necessity of the divine 
forgiveness. 



Private Offences. 



But, not to detain you with farther specifications, especial- 
ly, since in what we have stated every thing is included that 
can be demanded, in order to the forgiveness of private of- 
fences, allow us, by way of recapitulation, to impress upon 
your minds the principles we have here illustrated. What 
have we said? We have shown that God looks with the 
most profound and sovereign displeasure upon all the quar- 
rels and contentions of men — that he estimates the peace of 
his children more highly than he does their most splendid 
and magnificent sacrifices — that he holds the aggressor amen- 
able for all the evils of enmity and disfellowship with an 
innocent man — that reason, religion and common justice de- 
mand of him repentance as the first act of his hands — that 
in this duty is especially included, a meek reception of re- 
proof, a full and frank confession of fault, and an honest 
reparation of the damages occasioned, as far as possible. 
And now, before God, and before the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, I charge 
every one of you who hath trespassed against his brother, 
that ye arise at once, and go to him, saying, " I repent." Let 
not your petulancy and ill-nature refuse the rebukes of affec- 
tion. Let not your pride and obstinacy decline a full and 
hearty acknowledgment. Let not your perverseness and 
avarice withhold a suitable satisfaction for all the damages he 
hath suffered at your hands. By the terrors of the divine ven- 
geance — by the inexorable wrath of the offended Lamb of God 
— by the value of the deathless spirit — by the unquenchable 
flames of hell — by the writhings of the pit — by the horrors of 
everlasting banishment from hope, from peace, horn pardon and 
from God, we charge you to repent of that wrong, and put a 
speedy end to these disputes. Sleep not upon this sin, lest 
thou die and be damned. Go not with it to the throne of 
grace, lest the fire of consuming wrath burst forth and en- 
velop thee. "If thou bring I by gift to the altar, and there 
remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave 
there there thy gift before the altar, go thy way, first be re- 
conciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." 
Let not the sun go down upon this feud. Tarry not a mo- 
ment. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art 
in the way with him: lest at any time the adversary deliver 
thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, 
and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou 



Private Offences. 



185 



shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the 
uttermost farthing." But 

III. The second and last duty of the offended remains to 
be considered. " If he repent : , forgive him." 

And what shall we say? Where shall we begin to press 
this duty? Can any argument be necessary to induce the 
forgiveness of a repenting brother? One who has deeply 
felt and deplored his offence? One who has humbly ac- 
knowledged his fault? Who has offered every satisfaction 
in the power of his hands? From this moment, the onus of 
responsibility is removed from his shoulders to thine own, 
and devolves upon thee with all its fearful weight. Every 
principle sacred to Christianity demands his release and abso- 
lution — every principle of religion forbids us to longer regard 
him as an alien. It is not optionary with us, whether we 
will or will not receive him as a brother. Our own forgive- 
ness and acceptance with God, the fellowship of the Spirit, 
and the consolation of religion, the hope of heaven, and the 
bliss of immortality, all hang suspended on this point. With- 
hold the one, and we forfeit the rest. 

The spirit of forgiveness enters into all the essential ele- 
ments of Christianity, and forms an indispensable part of 
it. That is a false notion of religion, which fancies one's 
self forgiven, irrespective of the sentiments and principles 
which he ma3' still cherish in his heart. Behold, how the 
apostle sums up the virtues of the christian character, and in 
the bonds of indissoluble union connects them together: 
" Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, 
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 
long suffering, forbearing and forgiving one another; if any 
man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, 
so also do ye." (Col. iii : 12, 13.) Remaik the entire chain, 
and the absolute dependence of link upon link. How beau- 
tiful the cluster! and how inseparably close the connection! 
Every ornament to religion — every principle vital to godli- 
ness, is here rnterarticulated, like the joints and members of 
the human frame, from which no one can be taken away 
without defacing and deforming the whole symmetry. Who 
would suppose a beautiful mansion proportioned and com- 
pleted, with only one of its walls erected? With no less 
impropriety do we regard our Christianity perfect, while malice 
and rancor are indulged in the soul. An implacable chris- 



186 



Private Offences. 



tian! It is a contradiction in terms. Bigots there maybe, 
and have been, in all denominations: but an implacable, 
irreconcilable, unforgiving christian, is of the same figure of 
speech, as a godly adulterer, a religious drunkard, or a devout 
murderer. Who can possess "bowels of mercies," with an 
inexorable hatred burning in his heart? Who can perform 
acts of christian kindness, while malevolence and ill-will 
rankle in his bosom? Who can indulge "humbleness of 
mind," when his indomitable haughtiness and pride will not 
so much as pardon a fault? Can he be clothed upon with 
meekness, whose spirit heaves wilh anger, like the sides of a 
burning volcano? Where is the long suffering of that man, 
whom the most paltry offence kindles into an inextinguisha- 
ble rage and madness? Where are his forbearance and 
pity — his tenderheartedness and compassion, whom no tears 
of repentance — no ingenuousness of sorrow — no frankness 
of confession — no reparation of damage, can appease or ex- 
cite to deeds of forgiveness? " If he repent, thou shalt for- 
give him." 

The exercise of forgiveness is an indispensable prerequisite 
and qualification for acceptable prayer — the first christian 
duty. No christian, we dare say, can live satisfied without 
prayer. It is his native element — "it is vital breath." 
Prayer is the soul's best channel of intercommunication with 
heaven. The benefits of the atonement — the constant sup- 
plies of grace, both for trials and duties — the felicitous su- 
perintendence of the divine providence — these are sought 
and vouchsafed through this channel: and sufficiently en- 
dear the heaven-appointed exercise to every pious heart. 
Nevertheless, prayer to meet the divine favor, must needs be 
offered in the spirit of universal love. No petition that as- 
cends from the burning elements of strife and bitterness, can 
reach the ear of divine grace and goodness. "If I regard 
iniquity in my heart," said the Psalmist, "thou wilt not hear 
me." (Ps. lxvi: 18.) Why went the pharisee down from 
the place of prayer unjustified and unblest? -The answer is 
given in this short phrase, "he thought he was righteous, but 
despised others." (Luke xviii: 9.) A malignant and con- 
tentious spirit awoke the displeasure of God against the most 
solemn and sacred assemblages of the Jewish nation. "Ye 
fast for strife and debate, and to fight with the fist of wick- 
edness." (Is. Iv: 4.) If men are commanded to pray every 



Private Offences. 



187 



wheie, they are also lo "lift up holy hands, without wrath" 
first, and then "without doubting." (1 Tim. ii: 8.) 

In that beautiful formulary of prayer, given by our blessed 
Redeemer, we are taught to say, "Forgive us our debts as 
we forgive our debtors;" (Math, vi: 12;) or, as it is express- 
ed by another evangelist, "Forgive us our sins, for we also 
forgive every one that is indebted lo us." (Luke xi : 4.) In 
the latter of these forms, the christian is required to say, 
when he prays in the presence of the heart-searching God, 
that he has forgiven every one who hath trespassed against 
him ; and in the former, to ask the divine mercy, only in the 
measure that he shows mercy to his fellow-man. Perhaps 
we have frequently uttered this petition: but have we duly 
pondered its import? Dare we assert to God that we have 
forgiven those who have wronged us, while we still cherish 
a latent malice towards them? Or dare we ask the mercy of 
God, as we show mercy to another, to whom, in reality, we 
show no mercy? What is the import of such a petition? It 
is that all the bowels of the divine compassion may be for- 
ever closed against us — that instead of smiles, his frowns 
may rest upon us — instead of blessing, he may consume us 
with interminable sorrows and wretchedness. Dare we 
make this prayer in the presence of the Most High? "He 
shall have judgment without mercy, who hath showed no 
mercy." " Therefore, when ye stand praying, forgive, that 
your Father also, which is in heaven, may forgive your tres- 
passes; but if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father 
which is heaven forgive your trespasses." (James ii: 13; 
Mark xi: 25, 26.) 

The duty of forgiveness is farther enforced in the scrip- 
tures, from the consideration of that mercy which we have 
already received. This is our Lord's argument, in a parable 
representing the kingdom of heaven, "I forgave thee all 
that debt, because thou desiredst me : shouldst not thou also 
have had compassion on thv fellow-servant, even as I had 
pity on thee?" (Math, xviii:" 32, 33.) Who can think of 
his own sins, and of the wrath to which they exposed him — 
who can think of the condescension and mercy of God in 
their forgiveness, and not feel the kindlings of holy pity 
move towards an erring brother? How multitudinous were 
they! How they rose over our head, as dark and portentous 
clouds, whose aggregated particles are without number! 



188 



Private Offences. 



Every breath was polluted with guilt, and every word was 
contaminated with crime. Through the eye and through 
the ear its deadly venom w T as imparted to the soul. VVe 
turned not away the eye from seeing, nor the ear from hear- 
ing, vanity and lies. Their image was drawn upon the spirit 
in dark and fearful outlines. Depravity entered into the 
essential elements of our nature. It beat in the pulse and 
flowed in the veins. It burnt in lurid glimmerings on the 
brain, and in flames of consuming wrath upon the heart. 
"The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint." 
Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil, 
and that continually. What is the sin of a brother, compared 
with the innumerable transgressions which we have committed 
against God? And has the divine mercy abounded to their 
pardon? " He forgave thee all that debt, because thou de- 
siredst him : shouldst not thou also have compassion on thy 
fellow-man, even as the Lord had pity on thee?" 

Further, if our sins w 7 ere actually without number, they 
were also heinous to the last degree. Their enormity rose 
with the law of which they were a violation — with the obli- 
gations of which they were a contempt — with the person of 
whom they were an abhorrence — and with the motives which 
they despised. Beheld, in the light of these reflections, how 
do the most aggravated offences of a brother sink into the 
mere frailties and sinless infirmities of helpless human na- 
ture! What principles subsisting between man and man 
can be compared with the authoritative law of which our 
sins were an infraction? What obligations can be imposed 
by the relations of earth, so solemnly imperative as those de- 
volved upon us as the creatures and beneficiaries of God ? 
What human virtue can claim such inalienable fidelity and 
love, as that which we have despised in the ineffable purity 
and beneficence of the deity? Have we trampled all these 
beneath our feet? and has the boundless compassion of the 
Father of mercies extended to us a divine pardon? Tell 
me, thou pardoned spirit — raised to a princely station from 
the demerited flames of the hottest hell — tell me whether 
thou canst refuse forgiveness to a brother, whose sins scarce 
deserve mention beside thine own? If God forgave thee all 
that debt because thou desiredst him, shouldst not thou also 
have compassion on thy fellow-man, even as the Lord had 



Private Offences. 



189 



pity on thee ?"* " Therefore, be ye kind one to another, 
tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's 
sake hath forgiven you. 7 ' (Eph. iv : 32.) 

"As God for Christ 's sake hath forgiven you!" Here 
is the rule and measure — the spirit of acceptable forgiveness. 
It must be real and entire. Forgiveness is not a form of 
words alone. It is not a mere repiieve — a suspension of the 
feud — a temporary abatement of the animosity. It is more. 
It is an act — an important act — the act of absolution and 
release. It is the relinquishment of present claims — the 
abolishment of present liabilities — a " blotting out of the 
hand-writing" of charges against the offender. It is placing 
in his hands "novai tabula?" and commencing with him 
" de novo." Nor is this a partial act. It extends to the 
whole debt — both the principal and the interest. The last 
letter of the offence must be erased. Not an iota can re- 
main. " I forgave thee all that debt" said the Son of God : 
and thus must we say. However heinous may have been 
the crime — however aggravated the circumstances of its com- 
mission — however possible that it may be repeated, the mo- 
ment it is forgiven, that moment it is buried, and completely 
buried. Nothing short of this is pardon. He that pretends 
to forgiveness, while a private rancor — a secret jealousy — a 



*Forthe satisfaction of those who find a difficulty in harmonizing the 
Calvinistic doctrine of the " final perseverance of the saints," with the par- 
able from which we have here quoted, and for the additional purpose of 
farther illustrating the necessity of forgiveness, we beg leave to append the 
following note from the Rev. A. Fuller : 

" It is common with our Lord, to address men upon their own principles — not ac- 
cording to what they were in fact ; but according to what they were in profession 
and expectation. And thus, in the parable under consideration, (Math, xviii : 
23-35,) he solemnly warns all the members of his visible kingdom, icho 
profess to be his people, and who had their expectation of being forgiven of 
him, that, without determining whether their professions were sincere or 
not, if they forgave not men their trespasses, neither would his heavenly 
Father forgive their trespasses. Whether they were sincere or not, made 
no difference to the argument. If a person lays his account with being for- 
given of God, and is unforgiving to his brother, his conduct is inconsistent 
and wicked : for, being under the power of a self-delusion, his motive is the 
same as if it had been otherwise." — Works, vol. 2, p. 143. 

The whole amount of the matter is this. If a man has not the principle 
of forgiveness abiding in his heart, he is not really a christian: if he has, 
he will exercise it towards those who have trespassed against him. If, 
therefore, he does not forgive, he will be "cast to the tormentors," as an 
unconverted man ; the evidence of which is, notwithstanding all his pro- 
fessions, the destitution of a forgiving spirit in his heart. 

25— Vol. y. 



190 



Private Offences. 



latent coldness and reserve, are cherished in his heart, more 
than was wont before the offence was committed — needs to 
farther investigate his character, and perform his work anew. 
It is not thus that God for Christ's sake forgives sin, nor is it 
thus that we must forgive. " If ye, from your hearts, forgive 
not every one his brother his trespasses, neither will your 
Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Math, 
xviii: 35.) 

Forgiveness must be final. Thus, "God for Christ's sake 
hath forgiven you." " As far as the east is from the 
west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." 
They are cast into the deep sea; nor will they ever be called 
up to remembrance to our detriment. Like the moment, 
which is past to return no more; so, the sins which are blot- 
ted out, are never to be recalled. No subsequent offence 
can revive those which were once pardoned. With equal 
propriety may the liquidated debts of past years come into 
the settlement of present accounts, as that crimes once for- 
given should be brought into the adjustment of future diffi- 
culties. Grant that his repentance was insincere, and that it 
was only a pretext to another and more nefarious offence — 
grant that his subsequent conduct may require his expulsion 
from the church of God, and from the society of the faithful. 
That is his own fault, and let him bear the responsibility. 
His repentance — teal or pretended — was accepted, and in 
consideration thereof, we forgave, and must forgive. This 
forever puts a terminus to that difficulty; nor may we ever 
revive it. We may not mention the past to his detriment, nor 
permit it to influence any part of our conduct towards him. 
It may not so much as give credibility to reports that may 
thereafter circulate to his prejudice. His character, as a good 
or bad man, must stand or fall alone upon the subsequent 
acts of his life. What else is that forgiveness which consists 
in "restoring" the transgressor to that place from which by 
transgression he fell? What else is that forgiveness which 
"God for Christ's sake hath extended to us?" Nor yet is 
this all. 

Forgiveness must be cheerful. Thus, "God for Christ's 
sake hath forgiven you." God does nothing with hesitancy 
and reluctance: and least of all, does he extend pardon with 
grudging hands. The smiles which accompany the divine 
mercy, give to it a principal sweetness. The virtue of con- 



Private Offences. 



191 



descension and pity, is heightened by the pleasure which is 
manifested in the deed. Compassion is a priceless jewel, in 
willing and delighted hands: but a fulsome and obnoxious 
thing, when accompanied with complaints and apparent 
paint. "Show mercy with cheerfulness," is a divine requi- 
sition, (Rom. xii: 8,) and without cheerfulness, there is no 
beauty in it, that one should desire it. To forgive an offence 
is magnanimous; and the magnanimity of the deed is in- 
creased by the greatness of the crime, and the sovereign 
readiness and pleasure with which we pass it by. It is God- 
like to meet a "piodigal son" — a reckless adversary — a ma- 
lignant enemy — afoul asperser — a wily chicaner — with open 
arms, and extend to him a prompt and hearty forgiveness. 
Thus we " return good for evil," — ihus we "suffer long and 
are kind." — thus we "heap coals of fire on his head, and the 
Lord shall reward thee." (Rom. xxv : 22.) " If he repent, 
thou shalt forgive him." 

"As God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you!" Here is 
the rule and spirit of acceptable conduct towards a repenting 
brother. We oppose it to those who profess to forgive, but 
are nevertheless unwilling, for the present, to fellowship the 
offender. He must be restored to our fellowship. "Let 
him be to thee as an heathen man and a publican," — when? 
After he shall have turned, saying, " 1 repent?" After he 
shall have deplored his offence — confessed his fault — and 
rendered every satisfaction in the power of his hands? No, 
verily. Had he refused to hear thee — and refused to hear 
them whom thou broughtest with thee — and refused to hear 
the church — then he should have been to thee as "an hea- 
then man and a publican." But what now remains in the 
power of his hand, whereby to regain thy favor? What be- 
side his offence intercepted thy fellowship? That was the 
only bar to thy communion — the middle wall of parti'ion 
between thee. Hast thou forgiven it? That act was the 
extinguishment of the debt — the removal of the impediment. 
If it was any thing less than this, it was nothing — then for- 
giveness is no more forgiveness. What if the church of God 
were to act upon this principle, and still refuse to fellowship 
those whom she might forgive the violation of any of her 
rules and measures? What if the divine mercy were to re- 
fuse fellowship with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus 
Christ, to those whom it nevertheless pardoned? Where were 



192 



Private Offences, 



the advantages of mercy, that one should desire it? Say 
not that thou hast forgiven him whom thou wilt not restore 
to thy fellowship. 

"As God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you!" Here is 
the rule and spirit of acceptable conduct towards a repenting 
brother. We oppose it, again, to those who profess to for- 
give, but are nevertheless unwilling, for the present, to con- 
fide in the offender. He muse be restored to our confidence. 
"Him that is weak receive ye, but not to doubtful disputa- 
tion," is a maxim that applies with peculiar emphasis to the 
present case. His offence was the only bar to thy confi- 
dence — the middle wall of partition between thee? Hast 
thou forgiven it? That act was the obliteration of the diffi- 
culty — the annihilation of the obstacle. If it was any thing 
less than this, it was nothing — then forgiveness is no more 
forgiveness. What if thy brethren — the church of the liv- 
ing God — were to pardon thy offences, but still regard thee 
with jealousy and dread? What if the divine mercy were 
to pardon thy sins, but still hold thee in suspicion and doubt? 
Where were the desirableness of mercy, that one should seek 
it? Say not thou hast forgiven him whom still thou behold- 
est with distrust and jealousy. 

"As God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you!" Here is 
the rule and spirit of acceptable conduct towards a repenting 
brother. We oppose it, finally, to those who profess to for- 
give, but are nevertheless unwilling to replace their love upon 
the offender. He must be restored to our love. " I beseech 
you," said St. Paul, in the case of a notorious offence la- 
mented and forgiven, " I beseech you, that ye would confirm 
your love toward him." (2 Cor. ii: 8.) What remains to 
prevent it? His crime was the only bar to thy love — the 
middle wall of partition between thee. Hast thou forgiven 
it? That act was the extinction of the barrier — the everlast- 
ing destruction of the hindrance. If it was any thing less 
than this, it was nothing — then forgiveness is no more for- 
giveness. What if thy brethren — the church of the living 
God — were to pardon thy faults, but still withhold their affec- 
tions from thee? What if the divine mercy were to forgive 
thy trespasses, and yet shut up the fountains of his love and 
goodness from thee? Where were the great excellencies of 
mercy, that one should desire it? Say not thou hast for- 
given him whom thou dost not and wilt not love. These 



Private Offences. 



193 



two, forgiveness and love, stand inseparable in the argument 
of the apostle. " Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, 
and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with 
all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, 
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath 
forgiven you. Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear 
children, and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and 
hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, 
for a sweet smelling savor." "Brethren, if any man be over- 
taken in a fault, ye that are spiritual restore such an one in 
the spirit of meekness : considering thyself, lest thou also be 
tempted." (Eph. iv: 31, 32; ib. v: 1, 2; Gal. vi: 1.) 

My brethren, "beat peace among yourselves." By the 
consolations of Christianity — by the unity of the faith — by 
the valedictory prayer of the Son of God, that "you should 
be one, even as he and his Father are one," — we pray you, 
"be at peace among yourselves." What is there in the 
turbid waters of strife and confusion— of bickering and ani- 
mosity — of bablings and contention — that we should prefer 
to the placid streams of harmon} T and love? "I protest be- 
fore God, my conscience also bearing me witness, that I 
stand in jeopardy of you every hour." " For ye are yet 
carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, 
and division, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Cor. 
iii : 3.) What worse than this could be anticipated of men of 
the world , who have never heard of Jesus? — men of the world, 
who make no pretensions to the peaceful religion of Christ? 
— men of the world, who are led captive in the chains of 
satan, and yield a willing and submissive servitude to the 
lusts that war in their members? What worse than this 
could be anticipated from those who have nothing in com- 
mon, save a heart deceitful above all things and desperately 
wicked? But all ye are brethren, called unto peace — ye are 
brethren, redeemed with the blood of peace — ye are breth- 
ren, quickened and renewed by the spirit of peace — ye are 
brethren, the servants of the prince of peace — all ye are 
brethren, journeying to the abode of everlasting peace. By 
all these considerations, we pray you "be at peace among 
yourselves." " If there be any consolation in Christ — if any 
comfort of love — if any fellowship of the spirit — if any bow- 
els and mercies— fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, 
having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 



194 



Private Offences. 



Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory: but in low- 
liness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves." 
(1 Thess. v: 13; Phil, ii: 1-3.) 

" Let the brother of high degree condescend to those of 
low estate." (Rom. xii: 16.) Who hath made thee to differ 
from thy brother? Hath the divine providence given thee 
prosperity and power to crush the bruised reed, or extinguish 
the smoking flax? Shall the head say to the foot, "I have 
no need of thee?" Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the 
streets of Askelon. " The princes of the Gentiles exercise 
dominion over them, and they that are great exercise author- 
ity upon them. But it shall not be so among yon: but he 
that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and 
he that is chief, as he that doth serve. Even as the Son of 
man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to 
give his life a ransom for many." (Math, xx: 25-28; Luke 
xxii: 25,26.) 

Let the rich condescend to the poor. Who hath made 
thee to differ from thy brother? Hath the divine providence 
given thee prosperity and power, that thou shouldst break the 
bruised reed or quench the smoking flax? Shall the hand 
say to the foot, "I have no need of thee?" Tell it not in 
Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon. "My brethren, 
have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, 
with respect to persons. For if there come into your assem- 
bly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there 
come in also a poor man, in vile raiment, and ye have re- 
spect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto 
him, sit thou here in a good place: and say to the poor, stand 
thou there, or sit here under my foot-stool; are ye not partial 
in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 
Harken my beloved brethren: hath not God chosen the poor 
of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which 
he hath promised to them that love him? But. ye have de- 
spised the poor. If ye have respect to persons, ye commit 
sin." (James ii: 1-6, 9.) 

Let no one look with an evil eye of envy and jealousy, 
upon the manners or good fortune of another. What, if in 
every house there are vessels of honor, and some vessels to 
dishonor? What, if in the distribution of its bounty, the 
divine wisdom has given to one ten talents, to another two, 
and to another but one? Shall the foot say to the head, "I 



Extract. 



195 



have no need of thee?" Shall we fret against him whom 
the divine providence hath butdened with the most fearful 
responsibilities? Envy, like the pestilence that walketh in 
darkness, and wasteth at noonday, spreads devastation and 
ruin whithersoever it goes. "Who can stand before envy?" 
Not one. It is a moral " Simoon" that prostrates the world 
before it. "Ephraim shall not envy Judah,and Judah shall 
not vex Ephraim." " Charity envieth not." 

Above all, my brethren, let not a tale-bearer find an habi- 
tation among you. " Where no wood is, the fire goeth out : 
so, where no tale-bearer is, the strife ceaseth." (Prov. xxvi: 
20." Under whatever guise he may approach you — with 
whatever show of friendship and love — with whatever "good 
words and fair speeches," — avoid him as you would a viper. 
"These six things doth the Lord hate, yea seven are an 
abomination unto him: a proud look — a lying tongue — and 
hands that shed innocent blood — an heart that deviselh 
wicked imaginations — feet that are swift in running to mis- 
chief — a false witness, that speaketh lies — and he that soweth 
discord among brethren." (Prov. vi: 16-19.) Play with the 
jaws of a raving and roaring lion in his den— sport with the lurid 
glare of the cannon's mouth — dance around the crater of a 
burning volcano — and be safe: but he that harkens to the 
voice of a tale-bearer, shall feel in his heart the bitterness and 
pain of wormwood and death. "The words of a tale-bearer 
are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of 
the belly." "Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him 
will 1 cut off. He that worketh deceit, shall not dwell 
within my house; he that telleih lies, shall not tarry in my 
sight." " Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; 
yea strife and reproach shall cease." (Prov. xviii: 8; Ps. ci: 
5-7: Prov. xxii: 10.) 

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God 
the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with 
you all. Amen ! 



EXTRACT. 

And the minister of the gospel, if he would make his know- 
ledge, acquired from other sources, available for salutary pur- 
poses, must know the peculiar constitution of society, and of 
the individuals composing it, for whose spiritual maladies he 
is to administer. If he would bless the church by his skill, 



196 



Extract. 



he must be acquainted with the church as she is. He must 
vigilantly inspect her present symptoms, and ascertain her 
present tendencies, and thus become able himself to pro- 
nounce upon her present condition, whether hopeful or peril- 
ous, — else he will be little qualified to presciibe the wisest 
mode of treatment, so as effectually to counteract all morbid 
affections, replenish the sources of vitality, and give to the 
system its appropriate tone and vigor. If he would benefit 
the general community, he must understand its wants, its 
prejudices, its susceptibilities. If he would apply the proper 
correctives to prevailing vices, he must be acquainted with 
their origin, growth and strength, and be able to decide 
whether they are superficially or deeply rooted. 

The servant of Jesus Christ may be a believer in the doc- 
trine, as it is technically termed, of "total depravity," and be 
lucid and cogent in demonstrating its truth as a naked ab- 
straction; but he must have been an unprofited observe^ if 
he does not understand it in the concrete, and find himself as 
able to prove it by fact, as by metaphysical argumentation; 
and as much required to believe it, and as competent to teach 
it, in the particular as in the general. If, therefore, he would 
be an efficient antagonist of sin, let him not oppose it under 
the universal appellation of moral evil, but let him study the 
diversified forms which it assumes, and press his controversy 
with each individuality, according as the demerit of each may 
demand. The law of God regards sin, not as an abstraction, 
but as something associated with a moral agent, and as de- 
veloped in as many shapes and colorings, as the varieties of 
human feeling, motive and action. Hence the formalities of 
diversified enactment, recognizing classifications in human 
depravity, and suiting the penalty to the measure of the of- 
fence; and hence the utterance of Jehovah's anathemas, not 
against moral evil as an abstract idea, but against the sinful 
agents guilty of specific transgressions. And Christianity, 
with her fulness of munificence, comes to bless the world, not 
by subduing sin in the abstract, but by extirpating it, as a 
practical thing, from the hearts and lives of the depraved; — 
not by rendering men holy in the abstract, but by shedding 
abroad in their natures that love to God, and that charily to 
man, which produce a holy and useful life; — not by convert- 
ing mankind as a mass, but by regenerating men in detail, 
and transferring their agency from the channels of damage 
to the channels of christian utility. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL V. October, 1846, NO, 10. 



THE CARDINAL CHRISTIAN GRACES, 

or the importance of restricting each of them to 
its own sphere: 

A sermon, preached before the Georgia Baptist Convention, at Macon, 
May 15, 1846, and published by a vote of the Convention. By Rev. Josi- 
ah S. Law, of Liberty county, Georgia. 

"Jlnd now abideth faith, hope and charity; but the greatest of these is 
charity.'''' — 1 Cor. xhi: 13. 

The sense of this passage may be thus expressed, " now 
faith, hope and love, these three together exist in the present 
life only ; but in the future world, faith and hope will be 
done away, and therefore the greatest of these is love." 

The design of this discourse is, to set forth the proper 
objects of faith, hope and love; and also, some of the evils 
arising from not confining them to their proper objects. I 
shall endeavor then to show, 

J. That the proper object of faith, is not our being interest- 
ed in Christ ; but the glorious gospel of the ever blessed God. 

This gospel is also called the record that God gave of his 
Son, not to believe which, is " to make God a liar," and to 
believe which, is " to set to our seal that God is true." 
This record is summed up by the apostle John in few words — 
" that God hath given unto us eternal life, and that this life 
is in his Son." That faith in Jesus Christ which justifies 
from all things, from which we could not be justified by the 
law of Moses, is included in believing the gospel ; or, as it is 
sometimes expressed, " believing the truth." " The true 
and essential nature of faith, is confidence in God, belief in 
his declarations, whether this be exercised by believing in the 



198 



TJie Cardinal Christian Graces. 



scripture account of the creation of the world, or as the 
ancient worthies exercised it in respect to specific objects, or 
by believing on the Messiah — it is the same disposition of 
mind in all cases; it is confidence in God." 

In establishing our proposition, that the proper object of 
faith is not our being interested in Christ, but the gospel of 
God, we observe, 

1. That nothing is to us a proper object of faith, but what 
God hath revealed. The true and essential nature of faith, 
being confidence in God — belief in his declarations — it must 
necessarily be confined to what God hath seen fit to reveal to 
us, and to extend it to any thing beyond, is to render one's 
self obnoxious to the charge of presumption and fanaticism. 

God hath no where revealed to any individual, his person- 
al interest in Christ and in the blessings of his gospel, which 
must be done before he can make them the objects of 
faith. The revelations of God respecting who are heirs of 
glory, and who shall enjoy the heavenly inheritance, relate 
entirely to character : and upon this point, his revelations in 
the gospel of his Son, are neither few nor meager; for he 
has most clearly described the characters of such as are inte- 
rested in Christ and all the blessings of his salvation ; he 
has given us ample assurance that all who believe in him, 
love and obey him, shall not perish, but have everlasting 
life. It may be said, in answer to this, that the apostle Paul 
addressed his brethren as chosen of God from the beginning 
unto salvation, and that this may be regarded as a revelation 
to them of their personal interest in Christ, and that there- 
fore, their interest in Christ was to them an object of faith. 
We reply, the apostle thus addressed them upon the suppo- 
sition, that they were children of God, through Christ, and 
not upon revelation from God to him, that they really were 
such ; consequently, that they were of those whom God had 
chosen from the beginning, unto salvation, was with him 
and with them a matter of hope and not of faith. 

The apostle John tells us, "hereby, we do know that we 
know him if we keep his commandments. He that saith I 
know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar 
and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, 
in him verily is the love of God perfected : hereby know we 
that we are in him. My little children, let us not love in 
word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth : hereby we 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 199 



know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts 
before him." 

Here we are distinctly told, that obedience, and active, 
and truthful love, are essential to our knowing that we know 
God and are of the truth. But God reveals to no man, 
unless you call the motions of grace a revelation, his actual 
possession of this obedience and love, but leaves it for him 
to determine, and he can only determine the point by their 
being present in the heart, and of their presence, I question 
whether there can at present be any greater certainty than 
consciousness — and I believe a real, undoubted conscious- 
ness of their existence, will give the heart all that assurance 
before God of which the apostle speaks. Mr. Andrew Ful- 
ler says, " If any one imagine that God has revealed to him 
his interest in his love; and this in a special, immediate and 
extraordinary manner, and not by exciting in him the holy 
exercises of grace, and thereby begetting a consciousness of 
his being a subject of grace, let him beware, lest he deceive 
his soul. The Jews were not wanting in what some would 
call the faith of assurance/' * We have our Father," said 
they, "even God," but Jesus answered them, "if God 
were your Father, ye would love me." Dr. Cudworth, in 
a sermon on the first passage quoted from John's Epistle, 
says, with respect to the doctrine of assurance, " We have no 
warrant in scripture to peep into these hidden rolls and 
volumes of eternity, and to make it our first thing that we do, 
when we come to Christ, to spell out our names in the stars, 
and to persuade ourselves that we are certainly elected to 
everlasting happiness, before we see the image of God in 
righteousness and true holiness shaped in our hearts. God's 
everlasting decree is too dazzling and bright on objects, for 
us at first to set our eye upon. It is a far easier and safer for 
us to look upon the rays of his goodness and holiness, as 
they are reflected in our hearts, and there to read the mild 
and gentle characters of God's love to us in our love to him, 
and our hearty compliance with his heavenly will. The 
best assurance any one can have of his interest in God, is, 
doubtless, the conformity of his soul to him. The way to 
obtain a good assurance, indeed, of our title to heaven, is, not 
to clamber up to it by a ladder of our own ungrounded per- 
suasions, but to dig by humility and self-denial, in our own 
hearts." We observe, 



200 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



2. The scriptures represent faith as terminating, not in 
ourselves, but in Jesus Christ and his truths. — "Go preach 
the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is bap- 
tized, shall be saved." Here, evidently, the gospel to be 
preached, is the object of faith. "These things are written, 
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of 
God, and that believing, ye might have life through his 
name." Here the manifest object of faith, is, that Jesus is 
the Christ, the Son of God, to be received upon what is 
written in the scriptures, which is God's record of his Son. 
Of the same import with these two passages are the follow- 
ing: Peter confessed, "thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
living God." Jesus answered, "Blessed art thou, Simon 
Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, 
but my Father who is in heaven." " If thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy 
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be 
saved." When the jailer fell down before Paul and Silas, 
and cried out, "what shalt I do to be saved?" The answer 
was, " believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." When the Eu- 
nuch said to Philip, "see here is water, what doth hinder 
me to be baptized?" Philip said, "if thou believest with 
all thine heart, thou mayest:" and the answer of the Eu- 
nuch informs us in what Philip required him to believe with 
ail his heart — " I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of 
God." In what did the full and strong faith of Paul termi- 
nate? Hear him in his own language, " I know in whom I 
have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that 
which I have committed to his hands." The all-sufficien- 
cy of Christ as a Saviour, was the object of that faith which 
inspired him with so much confidence. The distressed, in- 
quiring sinner never finds peace until he looks away from 
himself to Christ. The joy and consolation of the christian 
in life and death, are in proportion to the fixedness of his 
faith in Christ and his gracious truths. They who are 
striving to persuade themselves that they are interested in 
the love of God, upon the supposition that such persuasion 
is not only good evidence of saving faith, but an essential 
part of it, will always, like Peter, when they see "the winds 
boisterous," become afraid and begin to sink. If, as some 
Antinomians have supposed, saving faith consisted in a firm 
persuasion of our being among the elect, and justified, then 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



201 



a persuasion of personal election and justification would be 
the object in ourselves in which faith terminated, and conse- 
quently, the ground or cause of our justification, for (he 
scriptures plainly teach that that is the cause of our justifica- 
tion in which faith terminates; so that in order to be justifi- 
ed we must persuade ourselves that we are justified, — that is, 
we must persuade ourselves that we are in a state in which 
we are not, in order to be in that state, which is a palpable 
contradiction. "A persuasion of Christ being both able and 
willing to save all that come unto God by him, and conse- 
quently, to save us if we so apply, is very different from a 
persuasion that we are the children of God, and interested in 
the blessings of the gospel." The former is our duty and 
privilege; the latter is nowhere required at our hands, except 
as it may arise from a conformity of our souls to him. If 
faith, working by love, and purifying the heart, and over- 
coming the world, gives an individual a good assurance, then 
let him be assured; but let him not seek to persuade himself 
of his acceptance with God, under the mistaken notion that 
such persuasion is essential to justifying faith. Again: the 
exercises of faith recorded in the New Testament, as meet- 
ing the approbation of the Saviour, clearly had his all-suffi- 
ciency to heal as its object, and not a self -per suasion that 
they were interested in the divine favor and should succeed. 
Take, as our example, the case of the centurion : " Speak 
the word only," says he, "and my servant shall be healed ; 
for I am a man in authority, having soldiers under me; and 
I say to this man, go, and he goeth; and to another, come, 
and he cometh ; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth 
it." So does justifying faith have the al!-3ufficiency of 
Jesus Christ to heal the soul from the malady of sin as its 
sole object. <c Save, Lord, or 1 perish," expresses not only the 
feeling, but the true condition of the soul when it submits 
and receives Jesus Christ as a Saviour. We observe, 

3. Saving faith is far superior in its object, to believing 
ourselves in a state of salvation. Saving faith fixes upon 
the glory of Christ as its grand object. As a Teacher, it 
regards him as infallible and all-wise, and submits with 
child-like teachableness to his instructions; as a Physician, 
it regards his skill as perfect, and cheerfully trusts the life of 
the soul in his hands; as an Advocate, it-regards him as all- 
prevalent, and with confidence commits the cause of the soul 



202 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



to him ; as a King, it beholds him King of kings and Lord 
of lords; as that one who hath triumphed and will continue 
to triumph, until all his enemies are made his footstool, it 
bows the soul in humble and cheerful submission to his 
laws. m 

If our faith has respect only to the benefits to accrue to 
us from Christ, it is certainly vain, and we are still in our 
sins. As that repentance which has only in view the conse- 
quences of sin to us, is denominated worldly sorrow, and is 
declared spurious; so that faith which has only in view the 
benefits of the gospel to us, is spurious. It sees Christ, not 
as he really is, clothed with dignity, glory, dominion and 
power; but as that one who can minister to the lower feel- 
ings of our nature — who can save us from pain — and we 
follow him, not because convinced of his exalted nature, 
but because we had eaten of the loaves and been filled. 

It may be asked, " Is it wrong to believe one's self a 
child of God? " No, it is not only proper, but very desirable, 
when this belief is based upon suitable evidence. But we 
are not to regard this belief, which is more of hope than 
faith, as saving or justifying faith — as an essential quality of 
this faith — or as satisfactory evidence in itself of our exerci- 
sing it. That it is not justifying faith I have already shewn 
you. That it is not an essential quality of this faith, is 
evident from the fact, that persons can and do exercise saving 
faith without it ; but if it be essential to faith, this cannot be 
done; that it is not in itself satisfactory evidence of saving 
faith, appears from its not being a necessary attendant upon 
it, but a conclusion to which we come upon determining by 
the characteristics of justifying faith, that we are in the exer- 
cise of it, and this conclusion becomes more a matter of con- 
sciousness, of hope with us, than of belief. The faith that 
receives Christ under every character by which he has seen 
fit to manifest himself, acts upon the heart as a sanctifying 
principle, assimilating the character to Christ, and thereby 
begetting in the soul a consciousness of being interested in 
the divine love, proportionate to its assimilation to Christ. 
" Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be con- 
formed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first- 
born among many brethren." Ro. viii: 29. Justifying 



! 

*Sec A. Fuller. 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



203 



faith is not destitute of peace and comfort. It is its peculiar 
property to remove doubt and impart consolation. It re- 
moves doubt by endearing Christ: "Unto you that believe 
he , is precious." It imparls consolation by giving peace : 
"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through 
our Loid Jesus Christ." We proceed to show, 

II. That the proper object of hope, is a personal interest 
in Christ and in all the blessings of his salvation. 

As a personal interest in Christ and in all the blessings of 
his salvation j is not the proper object of saving faith, so 
neither is Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, the proper- 
object of hope. This is a matter of express revelation from 
God to us, and is to be received with the most unlimited con- 
fidence. To hope this is so, would imply some question, or 
ground of question, respecting its reality. So a personal 
interest in Christ, not being a matter of revelation, is not an 
object of faith, but of hope, and admits of doubt; but all 
the appropriate objects of faith are beyond doubt, not admit- 
ting of question, for they rest upon the veracity of God. 
The salvation of him that believeth, is a matter of revela- 
tion from God, it is therefore beyond doubt, and is to be 
received by faith ; but whether one is a believer, is not a 
matter of revelation, but admits of doubt, and is therefore an 
object of hope. 

Faith and hope are spoken of as distinct graces, having 
their appropriate objects in which to terminate. Faith, as 
we have seen, fixes upon Christ as its grand object. It is 
for hope to enter within the veil, appropriate a personal par- 
ticipation in that glory, and become the anchor to the soul, 
both sure and steadfast. It cheers us with the bright visions 
of eternal life beyond the grave, and keeps us steady and 
safe amid all the dangers of this tempest-tossed life. But if 
faith consisted in a persuasion of being saved, there would 
be no place for hope — for how can a thing " actually pos- 
sessed, be an object of hope, which must be at an end." 
The apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy i: 13, calls Jesus Christ, 
"our hope" — but not as the object of hope in the same 
sense that he is spoken of as the object of faith — but as the 
cause of hope. In this sense, he also speaks of him in that 
sublime passage, Titus ii: 13 — "looking for, or looking for- 
ward to the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the 
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Well may 



204 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



the second coming of Christ, without sin unto salvation, as 
the great God and our Saviour, surrounded by all the bright 
intelligences of heaven, to be admired by all them that 
believe, and to clothe the righteous with eternal honors, be 
called the blessed hope — for though "now are we the sons 
of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, yet we 
know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for 
we shall see him as he is." This will be the full fruition of 
hope ; this is the lively hope to which he hath begotten his 
people ; this is the hope of the righteous, that shall be glad- 
ness ; (his is the hope of all other hopes; it is the hope that 
cheers the pilgrim christian through this vale of tears. 

The same apostle, in Romans viii : 24th, 25th verses, says, 
" we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen, is not hope: 
for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for. But if we 
hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for 
it." We are not to understand the apostle as using hope in 
the sense of faith, as synonymous with it, but as expressing 
this idea, " we have as yet attained only in hope, or attained 
only to a state in which hope may be indulged." By the 
phrase, " hope that is seen," is meant, " hope that is realized 
in fruition by the attainment of its object," there being "an 
allusion to sight as the realization of faith." The meaning 
is, " when the thing hoped for is actually possessed, how 
can it be said to be the object of hope. But if we have 
hope for what we see not, then should we with patience wait 
for it." So that if faith had for its object our personal inte- 
rest in Christ, so soon as we persuaded ourselves of it, it 
would, as far as practicable in this state, be realized, and 
consequently cease to be an object of hope. But the apostle 
teaches us, that "the state of hope to which we are confined, 
implies that we should with patience wait for the desired 
blessing. And as it is of the essence of hope to exclude 
fruition, and always to look forward to something future — so 
ought it to be an inducement to us to wait with patience for 
the blessing which is yet at a distance." 

Our hope of eternal life should be cherished on true 
grounds. A hope that rests not on that which is real and 
abiding, but on something imaginary, is called the expecta- 
tion of the wicked, and shall certainly perish. But the hope 
of the righteous, rests upon the faithfulness of God — the 
love and mercy of Jesus Christ — and is inspired in the heart 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 205 



by a consciousness of conformity to God, through the opera- 
tion of the Holy Spirit, strengthening our faith in Jesus 
Christ. Such hope, being, as the apostle Paul tells us, the 
result of experience, " maketh not ashamed ; 99 subjects not 
to the shame of disappointment, as do those hopes that rest 
in delusive promises — " because the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto 
us; " that is, such hope is not a fallacious one, <fc because we 
have a convincing proof of its reality, in the unbounded 
grace of God, diffused on us by his Holy Spirit, and given 
as a pledge of his love." What is better adapted to comfort 
and strengthen, cheer and gladden the heart of the believer 
while dwelling in this world of temptations and sorrow, than 
a lively hope of future glory. Hence, we are exhorted " to 
abound in hope through the Holy Ghost," and to " rejoice 
in hope of the glory of God." We are also exhorted to ob- 
tain "a full assurance of hope ;" "to continue to cherish a 
full or confident hope of salvation even unto the end of 
life." " For he who on true grounds, cherishes the hope, 
which the christian religion encourages, of future glory and 
reward, will hardly be tempted to abandon his religion." 
Encouraged by the hope of eternal glory, we shall remain 
steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the work of 
the Lord. Oh ! how few christians, though all profess to 
have hope, feel, live and act under the influence of that live- 
ly hope to which Christ hath begotten them. Let us con- 
sider, 

III. The proper object of love. 

It has well been remarked, that love can hardly be called 
one of the graces, for it is the peculiar property of all of 
them, and bears the same relation to them that holiness does 
to the attributes of God. Love is holiness — " God is love ; 
and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in 
him." How beautiful and enrapturing the idea the apostle 
John presents here, of God and the true believer in Jesus, 
dwelling together in mutual love. A confession that Jesus 
is the Son of God, accompanied by conduct suitable to such 
a confession, gives us a place in God's love, and God a place 
in our affections. 

It is the true character of God, as revealed to us in the 
scriptures, that is the appropriate object of love ; especially 
his character as made known to us in the gift of his Son, 
27— Vol. V. 



206 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



and manifested to us in the person of that Son, who is 
declared to be the brightness of the Father's glory, and the 
express image of his person." In this exhibition, mercy 
and truth meet together ; righteousness and peace kiss each 
other. No part of the integrity of his character is made to 
yield in order to the exercise of mercy; neither does his pro- 
clamation of peace to a rebellious world, infringe in the 
least upon his righteousness. A satisfaction with his charac- 
ter as thus exhibited in God's method of justifying, must 
enter into our love, or it is not the love that God accepts. 
We must love him, if we love him at all, for what he really 
is, and not for what we may imagine him to be. " We may 
clothe the divine Being with such attributes, and such only, 
as will suit our depraved tastes, and then it will be no diffi- 
cult thing to fall down and worship; but this is not the love 
of God, but the love of an idol of our own creation." He 
acts in this way, who imagines the divine Being clothed 
with goodness, not as a moral excellence, but as undistin- 
guishing beneficence, and caring not for the honor of the 
divine government, whether pardon be bestowed consistently 
with justice or not; but having a supreme regard for himself, 
he finds no difficulty in loving a being, who, he thinks, 
without any respect to his conduct or character, will be sub- 
servient to his happiness. It is not difficult to see that this is 
any thing but love — for it is not excited by a profound 
respect for the character of God as manifested in the perfect 
rectitude of his conduct; but by the favors he expects to 
receive from him, and it is very plain, that upon such an 
individual perceiving the true character of the divine Being, 
that he no otherwise ministers to our happiness but in a way 
consistent with justice and morality, he would hate him with 
all the malignity of a supremely selfish heart. For, requiring 
the promotion of his happiness by the divine Being, without 
respect to the good or evil of his character, the right or wrong 
of his conduct, his selfishness would not permit him to look 
with complacency on God's true character, nor to submit his 
happiness to the laws of justice and morality as enforced by 
a Being whose goodness is a part of his moral excellence, 
and is no otherwise exerted for our happiness and well-being 
than in the strictest accordance with the integrity of his 
character. "As he that hateth not sin as sin , has no real 
hatred to it; so he that loveth not God as God, has no real 



The Cardinal Christian Gi*aces. 207 



love to him. True love to God, for the gift of his Son, 
and salvation through his death, does not merely respect the 
benefits we receive, but the holy, just and honorable way in 
which those benefits are conferred. " We hate sin as sin, 
when we hate it as an evil committed against God — as hei- 
nous — as subversive of all order and peace — as violative of 
all holy obligations — as subjecting us to the displeasure of 
God — and as utterly wrong, being committed without cause; 
and we love God as God, when we love him for what he is, 
and for what he has done for us. There are some who pro- 
fess to love the God of nature, but despise the God of revela- 
tion; there are others, who love the God of the moral 
Teacher, Jesus Christ, but who have no regard for the 
Father of Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb, by the shedding 
of whose blood, there is remission of sin. How important 
it is that we rightly apprehend the divine character; that we 
acquaint ourselves with God in Christ reconciling the world 
unto himself, lest our imagined love for God be found, in the 
end, to be nothing more than self-complacency or supreme 
selfishness. 

We should be careful not to confound gratitude with love, 
as the former can exist in the heart without the latter; 
neither should we mistake that gratitude which is not "spi- 
ritual, but merely the effect of natural self-love, and in which 
God is no otherwise regarded, than as subservient to our hap- 
piness," which arises sometimes from a mere apprehension 
of sin being forgiven, and continues only so long as the ap- 
prehension remains, for that gratitude w T hich is spiritual and 
which is always associated with love. Gratitude is excited 
by a just estimate and appreciation of benefits conferred. 
Love for a benefactor is excited by a correct view and ap- 
proval of his character, as expressed, not only by the benefits, 
but by the manner of his bestowing them. If then we 
properly estimate and appreciate God's favors, and rightly 
view and approve his character, as manifested by his favors, 
and his mode of conferring them, the heart must and will 
be exercised by true gratitude and love. 

Says the excellent and pious Andrew Fuller, <c so much 
as we have of the love of God, so much we have of true 
religion and no more. The love that we bear to our fellow- 
christians, to the law, to the gospel, and even to Christ him- 
self, is the love of God. We see in our brethren the image 



208 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



of God, and love it; in the law of God, a glorious transcript 
of his mind, and love it ; in the gospel, a more glorious 
transcript of his mind, and love it more; and in the person 
and works of Christ, the very image of the invisible God, 
and our hearts are united to him. In loving each of these 
objects, we love God." And let me add, if we love God as 
God we shall, necessarily, love each of these objects. 
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in 
God, and God in him." We proceed now, 

II. To point out some of the evils that we suffer from not 
keeping the above graces exercised by their appropriate 
objects. 

JL. In not keeping faith to its proper objects, there is dan- 
ger of looking short of Christ for acceptance with God. 
Let it be borne in mind that the essential quality of faith, 
is confidence in God, and that this confidence, manifested in 
a hearty, humble and thankful receiving of the record which 
God hath given us of his Son, and consequently, receiving 
Jesus Christ as the Lord our righteousness, is justifying faith. 

That many convicted sinners regard a persuasion of per- 
sonal interest in Christ, as essential to saving faith, is mani- 
fested by their strong desire for more pungent convictions 
than they possess; and this seeking after stronger and deeper 
convictions, is not that they might be brought to that state or 
sense of guiltiness and condemnation whereby they would 
be constrained to cry, "save, Lord, or I perish," but because 
they suppose such feelings would be a warrant to them to 
believe that Christ will save them. They know not that 
the genuineness of convictions of sin consists, not in the 
amount, but in the kind of feeling — and that no degree of 
convictions can procure pardon for them, but simply believing 
on the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, they continue troubled 
and distressed — not seeking to come to Christ by faith, but 
striving to persuade themselves that God has pardoned their 
sins, and attributing the want of this persuasion, to their con- 
victions not being deep enough, and yet regarding such per- 
suasion as the only sufficient evidence of faith in Christ and 
acceptance with God. And here is the true state of the 
case with such individuals: they cannot receive the simple 
truth, he that believelh shall be saved, and therefore they 
want an assurance from some quarter, that their sins are for- 
given, or will be forgiven, upon their believing in Christ, as 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 209 



a guarantee to them that God will accept of them and save 
them. Here is unbelief in its most subtle form. Here is 
satan working in his most cunning manner, to keep the soul 
from Christ. The scriptural evidence of faith in Christ, 
and reconciliation with God, is the preciousness of Christ to 
the soul: "to you that believe, he is precious;" and also, a 
new and holy love for God, from beholding his glorious 
image in the person of his Son; and it is this gives peace to 
the sin troubled soul, for a being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Many, we 
fear, laboring under the above error, finally persuade them - 
selves of the pardon of their sins, stop short of Christ, 
endure for a little while, and then fall away. There is dan- 
ger of the religious teacher so instructing the inquirer, as 
to help him to this groundless persuasion after which he has 
been seeking, instead of leading him to see his self-ruined 
and loss condition, and need of a Saviour. To avoid this, 
let him unfold before his mind God's method of justifying; 
show him the necessity in himself for such a method, and 
the all-sufficiency of Christ as a Saviour. There is reason 
to fear, that those professing christians are looking short of 
Christ, who in the absence of the operations of God's grace 
in the heart, by which he makes known to us our gracious 
state, seek to persuade themselves that they are interested in 
Christ. And when doubts and fears disturb this comfortable 
persuasion, they look not to Christ, but go back to the period 
of their conviction, and in the bitterness of their sorrows, 
the brightness of their hope, and the joy of their first love, 
they find arguments to confirm them in their persuasion, and 
to put to flight all doubts and fears. It may be, they com- 
menced with this persuasion, instead of saving faith in 
Christ; and instead of perfecting holiness in the fear of the 
Lord, they are spending their days in disobedience, and still 
comforting themselves with the persuasion, that their sins are 
forgiven. If the genuineness of our conversion has not been 
confirmed by a godly life, it is folly not to suspect that there 
was some material defect in it. Another evil arising from 
not keeping faith exercised by its proper objects, is, 

2. Seeking more after comfortable frames of mind, than 
correct and enlarged views of Christ. How often are christ- 
ians heard complaining of coldness — want of joy and feel- 
ing; but how seldom are they heard lamenting their want 



210 The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



of increased and increasing knowledge of Christ, and confi- 
dence in him as a Saviour, which is the true fountain of 
spiritual joy. They seem to take it for granted, they know 
Christ and have faith in him, and all they want is feeling, 
joy; forgetting that it is the peculiar property of faith, to im- 
part consolation : "Believing in Christ, we rejoice with joy 
unspeakable and full of glory:" and also forgetting, that 
that very comfortable feeling after which they are seeking, is 
absent, because faith which works by love, and purifies the 
heart, and overcomes the world, is not in exercise. 

Did the apostle Paul ever take it for granted, lhat he knew 
Christ and his salvation so well, that nothing remained to 
him but to spend his days in seeking, so far as personal 
religion was concerned, after comfortable frames of mind ? 
Hear him in his own impassioned and soul-thrilling language 
— " I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suf- 
fered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, 
that 1 may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my 
own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is 
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of 
God by faith; that I might know him and the power of his 
resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made 
conformable to his death; if by any means I might attain 
unto the resurrection of the dead." That knowledge of 
Christ which is eternal life, was the grand absorbing object 
of the aposlle's soul. To this, he bent all the energies of 
his great mind, and to this he consecrated all the affections 
of a heart in love with Jesus. They who will follow him 
in this, will never want for joy in the Holy Ghost; will 
never mourn the absence of a Saviour's love. 

But why do christians desire feeling so much more than 
knowledge? I know not, unless it is because they are dis- 
posed to regard a persuasion of a personal interest in Christ, 
as one of the objects of saving faith, and feeling, as one of 
the best evidences of such a slate, and therefore good evi- 
dence of their possessing saving faith ; consequently, they 
desire the peace and joy of justification without keeping the 
faith in exercise that justifies. They want peace without 
believing; they want life, spiritual life, without acquiring 
that knowledge of Jesus Christ that imparls life; they would 
enjoy peace with God, but will not acquaint themselves with 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



211 



him. Let me reprove such, by again referring them to the 
example of the apostle Paul. In continuation of my last 
quotation from him, he says, "not as though I had already 
attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if that 
1 may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of 
Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have appre- 
hended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things 
which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that 
are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus." He tells his brethren, not 
to understand him, from what he had said, to mean that he had 
reached the goal as victor — no, he did not so account him- 
self; but this he did, unheedful of all his past attainments 
and services in the gospel, he pressed, in allusion to the 
racer, he stretched his head and hands towards the goal — 
thus exhibiting his earnestness and deep anxiety to reach it. 
Oh! what bright visions of coming glory were spread out 
before the apostle's mind! He stopped not to inquire after 
the imperfect joys of his present state, but abounding in hope 
through the Holy Spirit, his present joy and consolation con- 
sisted in his holy, fervent detires and self-sacrificing labors to 
gain the prize, eternal life. Having obtained like precious 
faith with him, let all our joy and comfort from religion, 
arise from like holy diligence and perseverance, to obtain the 
same blessed reward. Let faith gaze into the depths of the 
riches of God's grace ; let it be firmly fixed upon the glory 
and dignity of Jesus Christ — and let hope lay hold upon all 
that faith sees, and the soul shall be filled with unspeakable 
joy in anticipation of an exceeding weight of glory. 

3. From confounding the objects of faith and hope, much 
uneasiness of mind is caused, and progress in the divine 
life hindered. Many christians, regarding the absence of a 
persuasion of a personal interest in Christ, as a state of 
doubt, and doubt being the opposite of faith, charge them- 
selves with the sin of unbelief, which they know to be very 
offensive to God, and thus inflict upon themselves much dis- 
tress of mind. But if this personal interest in Christ be not 
an appropriate object of faith, but of consciousness, or hope, 
a sense of its absence cannot cause doubt, but fear — for we 
cannot properly speak of doubting that which is not a matter 
of belief. An individual doubts when he questions the all- 
sufficiency of Christ as a Saviour, and the truth of his 



212 



The Cardinal Cliristian Graces. 



instructions; and he fears, when he questions his interest in 
Christ — fear being the opposite of hope. It may be said, 
fear causes as much distress of mind as doubt. This may- 
be — but still there is this material and important difference 
between them: to doubt is sinful, to fear is not. Doubt 
questions the veracity of God respecting the record he hath 
given of his Son; fear only questions the genuineness of 
one's love for that Son. The former strikes at the very 
foundation of religion; the latter only at the building we 
are endeavoring to rear upon it. The former threatens apos- 
tacy; the latter, if it be godly fear, causes increased watch- 
fulness and prayer. Hence, the apostle exhorts us to work 
out our salvation with fear and trembling; encouraging us to 
it by (he consideration, that it is God that worketh in us to 
will and to do of his own good pleasure. He demands of 
us that we should pass the time of our sojourning here, in 
fear. This is not that fear which perfect love casteth out. 
But where, in the whole word of God, are we commanded 
to doubt. 

There is a fear which the christian may feel, and which 
is called, in distinction from the other, slavish fear. This, 
like every other carnal feeling, may be known by its effects. 
It worketh not in the heart like the other, in a way of peni- 
tence, confession, humility, watchfulness and prayerfulness 
— but in increased negligence, indifference, pray erlessn ess 
and hardness of heart — thereby working death. The fear 
of coming short of the promised rest, should not distress us, 
but excite in us increased desires after holiness, and stir us 
up to greater diligence in the divine life. The fear of future 
punishment ihat exists in the heart unaccompanied by even 
a wish for holiness, for holiness' sake, ought to cause distress 
— for, as the apostle John tells us, its peculiar property is tor- 
ment — but, alas, it seldom does; it comes and goes, and the 
heart remains the same, except more hardened. Have we 
any fear? What is the character of it? Take care of 
slavish fear — closely allied to worldly sorrow it worketh 
death. 

The manner in which a confounding of the objects of 
faith and hope operate to the hindering of advancement in 
piety, is in this way: making faith to consist, in part, in a 
persuasion of personal acceptance with God — the individual 
so doing, unable to embrace that in his faith which God 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



213 



designs shall be a matter of hope with the christian during 
his pilgrimage, spends the time, the prayers and the efforts 
in fruitless efforts to believe that which he is allowed only to 
hope for, which should be spent in confirming his faith, and 
strengthening his hope, by increasing his knowledge of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hence, we find some in 
bondage, all their life-time, to fear; depriving themselves of 
the peace and joy of faith, they journey through life without 
the cheering gladness of hope. 

What grace more essential to the christian's happiness, or 
to the faithful prosecution of his holy enterprise, than hope ? 
Thank God, we can hope, when we can do nothing else. 
Let the night be ever so dark and stormy, hope will cheer 
and bid us wait the coming day. We can hope on through 
life, and when life, like a spent taper, glimmers in the sock- 
et, hope will cheer us with a life to come. Let us now 
proceed to consider, briefly, only two of the evils that arise 
from not fixing upon the character of God, as the prime and 
abiding object of our love. 

1 We deprive ourselves of the best test of the genuineness 
of our piety. Various are the motives that may induce an 
individual to discharge very strictly what he regards as reli- 
gious duties. The fear of punishment, desire for happiness, 
without any relish for that which is essential to happiness, 
holiness of heart, or devotion to party, may secure external 
conformity in religious matters. The existence of either or 
all of these, as principles of action, is not dependent upon 
the heart being regenerated, for they can and do exist without 
any such change — and they do, in many instances, control 
the actions of life while the heart is filled with evil thoughts, 
murders, adulteries and covetousness. It has been well 
remarked by that excellent minister of Christ, from whom 
we have before quoted, " it is the love of God which distin- 
guishes true religion from all counterfeits^ and from the 
effects of mere natural principles. It is this which distin- 
guishes repentance from repentance, faith from faith, fear 
from fear. Each of these graces has its counterfeit." A 
simple glance at the scriptures, will convince us of the truth 
of the above remark. There is godly sorrow, and there is 
worldly sorrow. The essential difference between them is, 
the former proceeds from love to God, who has been offend- 
ed; the latter, is induced by a painful apprehension of some 
28-Vol. V. 



214 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



terrible evil to self. There is a faith which is dead, being 
without works; and there is a faith which works by love — 
love to God. There is a fear that hath torment, and is cast 
out by perfect love; and there is a fear which is godly, which 
is the beginning of wisdom, and is promoted by love. The 
performance of any act in the service of Christ, no matter 
how self-denying or productive of good, if it proceeds not 
from love, is destitute of that essential quality which is 
necessary to its acceptance. 

Love, as a principle of obedience, has respect either to self 
or to God. If we obey from love of self, we shall have 
entire regard to the benefits of religion, without any concern 
about the manner in which they have been bestowed, 
whether God be just or unjust in justifying, so he justifies us. 
So that we shall love not the God of the Bible — but a Being 
of undistinguishing beneficence, conferring favors without 
any regard to the honor of his name, or to the rectitude of 
our conduct. If, on the other hand, we obey from love to 
God, there will not only be a holy thankfulness for the bene- 
fits of the gospel, but love for the character of God as exhib- 
ited in his righteous way of bestowing them. Just while 
justifying, exercising mercy, yet sustaining the rectitude of 
his character, proclaiming peace to a rebellious world, yet 
maintaining the inflexible righteousness of his government. 

No act, it matters not what may be its religious cast, can 
be regarded as obedience to God, unless it proceeds from 
love. We call an outward conformity to law, whether civil 
or moral, obedience, because no other test is within our 
reach, having no means of determining certainly the motive, 
which being one of the secrets of the heart, is known only 
to God. He knows whether conformity to his law proceeds 
from a recognition of his authority, submission to his will 
and love for his character, or from other motive. When out- 
ward conformity to God's law, proceeds from love to that 
law — when obedience is but love in action^ then the heart is 
under the influence of the same principle, and the service 
rendered is acceptable to God as true obedience. If all the 
law and the prophets hang upon these two commandments, 
thou shalt love God supremely and thy neighbor as thyself, 
and love be the fulfilling of the law, it is indeed vain to hope 
for salvation upon the ground of any attainments we may 
have made, or sacrifices offered in worship, if love be absent. 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 215 



It is when love to God and to man reigns in our hearts, that 
we may hope that that for which Christ gave himself an 
offering for sin, has been accomplished in us, the lighteous- 
ness of the law fulfilled in us. The second and last evil I 
shall mention as arising from not fixing upon the character 
of God as the prime and abiding object of love, is, 

2. We deprive ourselves of the strongest incentive to per- 
severance in the divine life. The gospel insists much upon 
patient suffering under afflictions, and faithful endurance, 
even unto the end of life, of trials and temptations. What 
is so well adapted to secure to us these indispensable quali- 
ties, as that principle which regards God as the chief portion 
of good, and Christ as the chiefest among ten thousand, and 
the one altogether lovely. It is he who, receiving the word 
in an honest and good heart, brings forth fruit with patience; 
and no heart can be honest and good that is not fixed upon 
God as its supreme object of love. Love is the only effectu- 
al antidote to the poisonous influence which the cares of this 
world and the deceitfulness of riches exerts over the piety of 
the heart. Love only can move the soul in the hour of 
temptation and keep it study to its allegiance in despite of all 
the devices of satan. 

The fear of punishment may secure an external conform- 
ity to religion, so long as a dread of God rests upon the 
mind — and this feeling can only remain so long as some 
gross sin terrifies or the judgments of God threaten. But so 
soon as sin is quiet, creating no sad disturbance in the con- 
science, by reason of supposed repentance and strong resolu- 
tion to do so no more, or where no pestilence walketh in 
darkness, nor no sickness wasteth at noon day, as the faithless 
eye-servant, so he who is governed by fear, neglects his 
duties and walks in his old ways of sin and folly. Others 
may begin to follow Christ fiom a regard to the bene- 
fits of religion — from self-interest — but they will go back 
and walk no more with him so soon as they are re- 
quired to deny themselves and take up their cross in order 
to follow Christ. They are like those in the New Testa- 
ment, who followed Christ, not because they had seen the 
miracles which he wrought, but because they had eaten of 
the loaves and been filled. Such persons follow Christ, not 
because he is the Son of God— not because he saves from 
sin — but because they regard him as one who will be sub- 



216 



The Cardinal Christian Graces. 



servient to their happiness, and save them without subjecting 
them to the least pain or self-denial ; hence, they make no 
sacrifices for the cause of Christ, and are conformed to this 
world. Both of the above motives are not only unholy, but 
are insufficient to secure constancy in the service of God. 
But love casts out fear and prompts to faithful obedience in 
prosperity as well as in adversity — amid the aboundings of 
mercies, as well as during the threatenings of judgments — 
when the path of duty is smooth and pleasant, as when 
rough and thorny. Love falters not, but follows its object 
through joy and through sorrow — through trials and through 
death ; for where the treasure is, there will the heart be also. 
In proof of this, take the lives of the primitive christians, who 
forsaking father and mother, sisters and brothers, houses and 
lands, followed Christ through fire and through blood, to the 
abodes of the blessed. Take also, the true missionary of 
the present day, who takes his life in his hands, and goes to 
preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the perishing 
heathen. What keeps him steady to his purpose, notwith- 
standing the many tender considerations that plead with him 
to forego his holy work, and the thousand dangers and hard- 
ships that would intimidate? Not duty enforced, as some 
would suppose, by a consideration of punishment if neglect- 
ed — nor duty enforced by the consideration of reward if per- 
formed — but love for God and man; it is this which makes 
the work a duty to him, inasmuch as the Spirit has shown 
him, that in this particular way he can accomplish the most 
good, and best serve his Lord. And after he has reached his 
destination, the home of his adoption, think you he never 
sighs for his father-land — that there are no remembrances of 
"home, sweet home?" Ah! he is still but a man of like 
passions with ourselves; but the holy, divine principle of 
love, calms his heaving bosom, and converts the remem- 
brances of childhood's home, into anticipations of the chris- 
tian's happy home. Every christian, in every situation in 
life, has, as a christian, his peculiar trials and difficulties, and 
they are just such as love only can endure, and love only 
can overcome. Love is "the golden key that opes the 
palace of eternity." It directs, hallows and excites to ac- 
tion our [faith, and makes charity and martyrdom virtues. 
One heart, one single heart not attuned to love, would cause 
horrible discord in the sweet harmony of heaven, where one 
tie unites all hearts, and all cry worthy the Lamb. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL V. November, 1846, NO, 11. 



THE DESIGN OF GOD IN AFFLICTING MINIS- 
TERS OF TIffi GOSPEL. 

By the late Rev. Stephen Chapin, D. D. 

A sermon prepared in June, 1843, on the occasion of the death of his 
daughter, Mrs. Sarah L. M. Sydnor, wife of the Rev. Thomas W. 
Sydnor, but on account of his own declining health never preached. 

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mer- 
cies, and the God of all comfort ; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that 
we may be able to comfort them ivhich are in any trouble, by the comfort where- 
with we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound 
in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted 
it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the 
same sufferings which we also suffer : or whether we be comforted, it is for your 
consolation and salvation. — 2 Corinthians i : 2-3. 

The word comfort in this passage, and generally in the 
New Testament, means something more than merely to 
soothe, to alleviate misery or distress of mind. It means to 
cheer, to animate, to give new life to the spirits. By it Paul 
meant that God imparted fresh courage to himself and Timothy 
to bold fast their profession, however formidable and appal- 
ling might be the evils and dangers before them. This is 
the kind of help and encouragement which the brethren at 
Corinth most needed when this letter was written; and it 
is the same kind of cheering and support which christ' ns 
now need, and which they will ever need, till the enemies 
of the cross are reserved in everlasting chains under dark- 
ness unto the judgment of the great day. For we may be 
certain that satan will enlist every agent at his command to 
dishearten and intimidate the people of God, and do all in 
his power to extinguish their zeal and to overthrow their 



21 S The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 



faith. True, for shame, and for policy's sake, the fires of 
the stake have been quenched. But the world has not be- 
come a friend to grace ; nor has the arch foe given up his 
malignant purpose. He has changed his mode of attack, 
but not his spirit and aim. He now transforms himself into 
an angel of light, and hopes to gain more by his insidious 
approaches, than he ever won in open warfare. It was in 
view of these facts and dangers, and of the means which 
God held provided to keep alive the love of believers and to 
encourage them to persevere in the cause of Christ, even 
in the face of ignominy and death, that Paul wrote this epis- 
tle to the Corinthian church. The text commences with a 
sublime thanksgiving. The being whom the apostle thus 
extols and praises, is the God and Father of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. Paul here, as every where else, for- 
gets himself — says nothing about consolations as designed 
for his personal benefit, nor anything about his manifold tri- 
bulations to excite pity on his own behalf; but the sole rea- 
son why he designed that all should unite with him in ex- 
tolling and blessing God was, because all the afflictions and 
consolations which he experienced in the service cf Christ, 
were designed by his heavenly Father to make him a 
richer blessing to Zion, by giving him greater power to con- 
sole and cheer believers while suffering in the same cause. 
Our text then teaches, that all the sufferings and consola- 
tion which ministers experience in the service of Christ, are 
designed to qualify them to promote the consolation and 
salvation of afflicted believers. This truth may be sus- 
tained : 

I. From analogy. God in all ages has been wont to bless 
and to afflict leading men in the community, not to promote 
their personal good simply, but chiefly to fit them to advance 
the public welfare. What is thus true in fact is confirmed 
by the general spirit and language of the scriptures. They 
represent God as bestowing and sending trials in such a way 
that it shall be evident that no one is blessed and no one is 
afflicted for his own sake. He blesssed Abraham that he 
might be a blessing. He blessed his posterity that in them 
all the nations of the earth might be blessed. He blessed 
the Jews, not to promote their independent national weal, 
but that among them the knowledge and the worship of the 
true God might he maintained, and through their agency be 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 219 

ultimately propagated through all the other kingdoms of the 
world. He blessed Cyrus, though a gentile, going before 
him, gracing his arms with a continued triumph, giving him 
the treasures of darkness, and the riches of secret places, 
not to promote his personal glory as a conqueror ; but that 
he might be the instrument to release his people from their 
captivity in Babylon, and to restore them to their ancient 
land. God said to him, for Jacob my servant's sake, and 
Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name ; I 
have girded thee, though thou hast not known me, that they 
may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that 
there is none besides me : I am the Lord, and there is none 
else. 

For the same reason he brings both good and bad men 
in high stations into great trials and calamities. Job was 
tried, to refute the charge that he served God only for gain, 
and to evince to the world and the powers of darkness that 
his religion was proof against all the assaults of hell. So, 
too, to illustrate the folly and sin of idolatry, and to prove that 
the God of the Jews is the only God in all the earth, the three 
worthies were cast into the burning fiery furnace, and Dan- 
iel into the den of lions. And on the other hand, Nebuchad- 
nezzar was driven from among men, and made to eat grass 
like the ox, that he and all proud monarchs after him might 
know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men and 
giveth it to whomsoever he will. Pharaoh was judicially 
hardened, visited with plagues and overthrown in the Red 
sea, that in him God's power might be shewn, and his name 
declared throughout all the earth. God turned the cities of 
Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, making them an ensample 
to those that after should live ungodly. Yea, the fires of 
hell are kindled up to be seen forever throughout the holy 
empire of God, as a warning of the evils of rebelling against 
the throne of heaven. 

II. By reasoning from the character of these trials and 
consolations. The same sort of trouble may be sent on dif- 
ferent persons and for different ends. Retributive punish- 
ments are designed to be lasting admonitions to the guilty, 
and proofs of the evils of transgression : Such as the end- 
less miseries of the incorrigible — the doom which the jus- 
tice of a holy God requires to be awarded them. Another 
class of trials, called corrections or chastenings, God inflicts 



220 The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 

upon his offending children not to destroy, but to re-claim 
them from their wanderings. If they forsake his law, break 
his statutes, and keep not his commandments, their heavenly 
Father will in faithfulness and in holy displeasure visit their 
transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes: 
nevertheless he will not break his covenant with his anointed 
Son, nor alter the thing that has gone out of his lips, but he 
will restore his chastened and purified seed, and make them 
to endure forever as the days of heaven. There is yet ano- 
ther division of sufferings, called tentative, which God sends 
upon his chosen people, not to punish them, but to try their 
graces — the strength of their love, or faith, or patience. 
These are the afflictions to which the apostle refers in our 
text. He calls them the sufferings of Christ, because they 
are the same that he endured through all his ministry. He, 
himself, has given us an abridged account of them. They 
arose from want, from neglect, contempt, scorn and tempta- 
tions of satan, and cruel persecutions of men. These are 
the tribulations which abounded in the life of the apostle, 
and of all the primitive saints. They were generally chosen, 
and in them they find rich consolations. Paul well knew, 
for the Holy Ghost assured him, that in every city bonds 
and afflictions awaited him. But none of these things moved 
him. He still went forward, though he was certain that in 
doing so he must suffer both hunger and thirst, nakedness 
and buffetings, and have no certain dwelling place ; not 
counting his life dear unto him so that he might finish his 
course with joy. Sometimes these trials were brought about 
in the immediate providence of God without any direct 
agency on their part. But in both cases they bore them 
gladly. They gloried in tribulations, and counted it all joy 
when they fell into divers temptations, knowing that they 
were endured to give proof to the world of the heavenly 
origin of Christianity, and to make them the more capable of 
glorifying God in building up his kingdom. These are the 
different kinds of afflictions, and these the different objects 
to be gained by them. Let us remember, my brethren, that 
it is of high moment for us to gain clear notions of the dif- 
ferent purposes for which they are sent, otherwise ?pe may 
rejoice when we should mourn, and exult when we should 
lie low in the dust. And let us, too, scrutinize with all care 
and solicitude the state of our minds and our course of life 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 221 



at the time when our afflictions came upon us. For in this 
way generally, we may learn why we suffer them, and of 
consequence, how we should feel and behave ourselves 
under them. If they came upon us when we were in joy 
and constantly employed in our labors as ministers of Christ, 
when it was our meat and our drink to do his will, and we 
were glad to spend and be spent in winning souls to God, 
then we may be sure that they are borne for Christ's sake, 
and that his consolations will abound in us. But if we 
leave our first love, and become worldly and slothful, and 
prepare for our public services, and preach to secure applause 
rather than to make known the Saviour's love, and God to 
chasten us for this declension, and these unhallowed motives, 
lay us on a bed of sickness, take away our property, or re- 
move our children or companions by death, or let us see the 
once full tide of our people's affection ebbing away from 
us, then we may be sure that these our trials are punitive, and 
that in them God is not arraying us with glory but clothing 
us with shame before the world. Our feelings then and 
conduct should vary at different times according to the mani- 
fest end for which we suffer. Whilst the church at Rome 
justly gloried in their tribulations, for they were sent upon 
them because they were strong and active, and to make them 
still stronger and more vigorous, the church at Coiinth 
were bound to bewail their tribulations in deep humility, and 
contrition, because they were intended to punish them for 
their riotous conduct before seasons of communion, and for 
their vain boastings and parly contentions. True, James 
says, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. And 
it is equally true that Paul said, no chastening for the pre- 
sent seemeth to be joyous but rather grievous. Nor is there 
any contradiction between them. For they had respect to 
afflictions sent for different ends, and upon believers in dif- 
ferent conditions. James referred to christians strong in faith, 
burning in love and active in labors, and to trials designed 
to bring out these graces, and thus to prove that the trial of 
their faith was in the sight of God more precious than that 
of gold, being thus found unto praise, and honor, and glory. 
But Paul had respect to brethren feeble and slothful in duty, 
and to chaslenings designed to purify, to reform and strengthen. 
It is true, that in one aspect even these grievous chastenings 
afford ground of consolation ; for after they have produced 



222 The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 

the primary end for which they were sent, humility and cor- 
rection, grace will make them yield the peaceable fruits of 
righteousness. 

But while he suffered them he was full of joy and ani- 
mation. He knew in whom he had trusted, and felt it to be 
all honor and privilege to be called to suffer for his sake. 
He knew, too, the importance of the conflict in which he 
was engaged, and that victory was his certain heritage. He 
had the testimony of the Spirit bearing witness with his 
spirit that he was a child of God. He had the sweet conso- 
lations that his sins were forgiven, that Christ loved him, and 
gave himself for him, that he had given him grace to preach 
his unsearchable riches among the gentiles, that God was al- 
ways with him, causing him to triumph in Christ, and by 
him making manifest the savor of his name in every place, 
that the church he served was destined to become an eternal 
excellency and the joy of the whole earth. He believed 
that ail his conflicts with the power of darkness — that his 
bright visions of future glory — were intended to cause him to 
desire more earnestly, and to prepare him to enjoy more 
fully the crown of righteousnes laid up for him in heaven. 
Yes, it was his faith in his personal interest in the blood and 
intercession of Christ that made up the grand element in 
his life, and was the animating principle in his labors and 
triumphs. With him religion was a great matter, a concern 
of infinite moment. He ever cherished a deep conviction 
of his wretchedness and guilt while he was a vile blasphe- 
mer of heaven, and a persecutor of the Son of God. He 
ever remembered, too, that matchless grace which delivered 
him from the power of darkness, and translated him into the 
kingdom of God's dear Son. Hence he relates his wonder- 
ful conversion again and again, and ever with the deepest 
emotions of gratitude and praise. When he repeated it in 
his epistle to Timothy, he was so carried away with thank- 
fulness and adoring thoughts of the transcendent mercy of 
God in his behalf, that as soon as he had finished it he breaks 
forth into this sublime doxology : Now unto the king eter- 
nal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and 
glory, forever and ever, amen. Could you persuade him 
that Christ is not an Almighty Saviour, and eradicate from 
his heart his belief that his death is vicarious, and that the 
promised aids of the Spirit are sure, he would at once be- 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 223 



come another man. Instead of remaining the champion of 
the cross, and sacrificing every thing earthly to sustain its 
glory, he would sink in despair, giving up all hope of his 
own salvation and that of the world. 

III. By reasoning from their influence, both on ministers 
and on the christian community. And first from their effects 
on ministers in relation to tried believers. The deep expe- 
rience of ministers in the christian warfare strengthens their 
faith, enlarges their views, brightens their hopes of heaven, 
makes them more pitiful towards poor lost sinners, and more 
anxious to save them, and greatly increases their love to the 
Redeemer's kingdom, and their confidence in the appointed 
means to build it up. Thus thejr find themselves put in 
possession of greatly increased qualifications to cheer and 
strengihen afflicted saints. Now will they not at once con- 
clude that this fitness of character to serve the cause of 
Zion was brought about for this very end. At any rate, its 
possession is their warrant to employ it thus. But they do 
not need this logical process to convince them of their duty. 
No, their feelings lead them at once to fly to christians who 
are in any trouble. They know that whilst their tribulations 
are countless in number and degrees of severity, there is but 
one way of finding relief, and that is by faith in Christ. 
Paul tells us in our text 3 that all he suffered and enjoyed in 
preaching the gospel was to give him ability to comfort them 
which are in any trouble by the comforts wherewith he him- 
self was comforted. And what is more natural than that 
the christian teacher should recommend to any afflicted 
member of his flock what he has ever found to be his only 
support in all his own tribulations. It is when his own re- 
lief is most signal, and his own cup most flowing that he is 
most anxious for others to share with him. The renovated 
patient is ever eloquent in recommending the remedies which 
have subdued his own pains and diseases, and brought back 
to him the glow of health. We all soon become strongly 
attached to the agent or instrument which w r e have long tried 
in every emergency, and which we have never found to fail 
us. There is a charm in both men and things which have 
brought us relief in our greatest extremities. When the bat- 
tle sword of Washington, and the staff of Franklin, were 
recently presented as sacred relics to our national govern- 
ment in Congress assembled, the sight of them brought up 



224 The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 



a vivid recollection of the glories of the revolution. For 
the moment party contests were forgotten, every eye was suf- 
fused, and every heart beat with a purer spirit of patriotism. 
When David saw the sword with which he slew Goliah, he 
said, H there is none like it, give it me." And he went on 
with renewed confidence of victory in his own wars with the 
Philistines. 

These trials and consolations of the apostles would greatly 
cheer and strengthen the brethren. For they were joyfully 
endured in a cause which they prized above all others; and 
in building it up, the heralds of the cross were daily waxing 
valiant in fight, and gaining more and more skill and power 
in wielding the weapons of their warfare, and paganism with 
all its abominations was fast retiring before them. Think 
you that the saints of Paul's day were dispirited and made 
ready to abandon their efforts to make the Saviour known to 
the world, and to win over to him fresh converts, by reading 
Paul's thrilling history of his sufferings, his victories, and his 
miraculous deliverances from enemies. "Are they ministers 
of Christ? I speak as a fool. I more; in labors more abun- 
dant, in stiipes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in 
deaths oft. Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes 
save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, 
thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been 
in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in 
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in 
perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the 
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, 
in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger 
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness? Besides 
those things that are without, that which cometh upon me 
daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak and I am 
not weak? Who is offended and I burn not? But thanks 
be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, 
and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in 
every place." How could it have been otherwise than that 
these facts should greatly animate the disciples with an as- 
sured hope of their own salvation, and with confidence that 
in the same way the gospel was to be propagated in all na- 
tions, to bring them under its saving power. We are ever 
the most animated and most confident when the cause that 
lies nearest our hearts is supported by the ablest men, and 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 225 



men, loo, who have the same motives to sustain it that we 
have. When were the puritan wives and mothers more san- 
guine that the struggle of the Revolution would result in 
gaining for them liberty and independence, than when ihey 
heard of the burning of Charlestown, and of the slaughter 
of the British troops in the battle of Bunker Hill, where 
many of their husbands and sons had poured out their blood 
like water in defending their country. That memorable day 
was never forgotten by either army, and had a mighty influ- 
ence through the whole conflict, making the one the more 
cautious, and the other the more brave. 

These trials and consolations will also awaken the affec- 
tionate sympathy of the churches. How natural for us to 
love those who patiently suffer and toil for the sake of pro- 
moting our good. What men were ever loved more intense- 
ly and by more hearts, than Paul, and Luther, and White- 
field, and Carey, and Swartz. Their success was the joy of 
all, and the death of each caused a deep pang of grief 
throughout Christendom. This spirit of sympathy is the 
quick conductor both of emotions and of opinions. We are 
ever most inclined to imbibe the sentiments and belief of 
those whom we most love, and to whom we feel the strong- 
est obligations. How then can it be otherwise than that 
what excited love and enthusiasm in the breasts of the apos- 
tles, must have been felt in all its strength by the churches 
which they had gathered, whatever might have been their 
outward troubles. 

This principle of quick and strong sympathy, is the most 
important medium of good or of evil which exists in the 
human mind. By it heroes and orators have wrought their 
wonders. By it Alexander breathed his own soul into the 
armies of Macedon, and conquered the world. By it Peter 
the hermit loosened all the kingdoms of Europe from their 
ancient bed, and led them on against the Turks to redeem 
Jerusalem and the Holy Land. And by it Mirabeau infused 
the spirit of infidelity into the mobs of France, and kindled 
up a flame of war which for fifty years laid waste the fairest 
portion of the globe. 

In support of our doctrine we will reason from the less to 
the greater — from the fact that the afflictions and consolations 
of ministers have been owned as means in the conversion and 
salvation of sinners. In proof of this we appeal to the his- 
30— Vol. V 



226 The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 



tory of the church in the first three centuries. It was then 
she was most successful in persuading men to renounce the 
world, and to embrace Christ as their only Saviour. Nor is 
this strange; for it was then that christians were the most se- 
verely tried, and manifested in the strongest light the pure 
spirit of the gospel, and its power to sustain them whilst suf- 
fering every thing that men and devils could inflict. But 
what thus gave them this unconquerable fortitude, and what 
made their love to Christ so invincible, were questions which 
would naturally come over the minds of their persecutors. 
For they knew that their founder was in their own estima- 
tion, a low born and despised Galilean; that his first minis- 
ters were illiterate, taken from the common walks of life, 
having no worldly greatness to arm them with power. They 
knew too, that the doctrines which these teachers inculcated 
shocked the hoary and religious prejudices of the Jews and 
Gentiles, and waged uncompromising war upon all the inter- 
ests and pursuits which the lovers of this world most highly 
valre. They, moreover, saw that for the sake of publishing 
this new religion they turned their backs on the world, and 
sacrificed every thing most dear to man — property, connec- 
tions, ease, fame, and life itself — that they held on their way 
unshaken by all the terrors of persecution, and that when 
they were burned at the stake, or nailed to the cross, or torn 
on the rack, they spent their last moments in praising God 
for the honors of martyrdom, and in prayer for the pardon 
and salvation of their cruelest enemies. Now they could 
net account for all this without admitting that Jesus was the 
Son of God, and the only Saviour of lost men; and (hat the 
gospel which wrought such wonders was of heavenly origin. 
In this way hundreds and millions were convinced of the 
truth and excellency of Christianity, and therefore, as perse- 
cution thinned the ranks of the saints, new converts con- 
tinued to fill them up till the Roman empire gave up idolatry 
and embraced the christian faith as her established religion. 
And thus it early became a proverb, that the blood of the 
martyrs is the seed of the church. No wonder, then, that 
this cord of sympathy so efficient in behalf of sinners, should 
convey into the hearts of tried and suffering professors the 
joy, and the courage, and the triumphs of their public 
teachers. 

If the trials and temptations of ministers are intended to 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 227 



make them the more useful, then we may infer that correc- 
tions or chastenings for their defects of character or delin- 
quency in duty are intended for the same purpose. In this 
class of sufferings, as well as in the former, we may be cer- 
tain that God designs to make them not simply better men, 
but chiefly better ministers. The best of them are far from 
being perfect. Their evil propensities are not wholly sub- 
dued. Vanity, or pride, or sloth, or worldliness, or love of 
fame or power, may greatly hinder their growth in ministerial 
gifts and abounding in public labors, if not lead them far 
astray in secular matters. When a minister once eminently 
successful in his appointed work gradually declines, and by 
and by becomes a zealous politician, or a thrifty farmer, or a 
celebrated author in mere classical literature or science, the 
churches will be ready to say, well he is preparing himself 
for severe sufferings, and for a bitter cup of grief; for we 
once thought him to be a minister of Christ, and we hope so 
still, and therefore believe that God will not let him off in 
this way, but that he will visit his transgression w 7 ith the rod, 
and his iniquity with stripes, and make him return to Zion 
with weeping and supplication. Peter as an apostle, had 
noble traits of character, but yet he had his faults. He was 
hasty and self-sufficient. When Christ warned him that he 
would be left to deny him, he vehemently said, if I should 
die with thee I will not offend thee in any wise. But he 
did not then know how dangerous it was to trust in his own 
strength. He was therefore left in the hands of Satan, to 
sift him as wheat, and permitted to deny his Lord even in 
profane language. This was suffered not for the good of 
Peter only, but more for the benefit of the church. Hence 
Christ said to him, when thou ait converted, strengthen thy 
brethren. Go tell them when tempted, to look solely to me 
for succor and support, and relate to them your own expe- 
rience as a warning to thern not to be vainly confident that 
they are proof against temptation. Peter, no doubt, was a 
much more humble and watchful christian, and a much 
more useful preacher after his fall than he was before. Paul 
too was sometimes chastened to keep down the risings of the 
lingering remains of pride and vanity in his heart. He 
could but know his superior genius, and his vast resources of 
knowledge. He knew too, that he was endowed above his 
fellows with apostolic gifts and miraculous powers. He had 



228 The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 



been allowed the peculiar favor of seeing the Saviour's face, 
and of hearing his voice after his ascension to glory ; and 
had besides been caught up to the third heavens to the para- 
dise of God, and heard unspeakable words — music and lan- 
guage which nothing earthly could reach. Now was there 
not danger that he, possessing as he did, a heart by nature 
proud and ambitious, would be tempted to exult in these ex- 
traordinary endowments and revelations. Hence there was 
given him a thorn in the flesh — the bufferings of Satan. 
For this thing he besought the Lord thrice, that it might de- 
part from him. But Christ did not grant his prayer; but 
said: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness." He knew that it would be 
safest for Paul, and most for the good of the church that it 
should remain with him, reminding him daily of the reason 
why it was given him, — to prevent him from being puffed 
up with spiritual pride, and to make him confiding in the 
power of Christ. And in this Paul acquiesced and said, 
"Most gladly, therefore, will I lather glory in my infirmities, 
that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Christ says, 
" I am the vine, and my father is the husbandman. Every 
branch in me that beareth fruit he purgeth that it may bring 
forth more fruit." Though it is a good branch, yet he sees 
that it has some twigs and foliage that check its fruitfulness. 
He therefore prunes them off; and though the branch may 
bleed under the knife, still he knows that in this way it will 
be made more healthy and more fruitful. 

Are trials designed to make manifest for the public good 
the strength of the graces of believers? Then they should be 
joyfully endured. It is not enough that we bear them in 
silent patience, but we should be thankful and rejoice that 
we are called to suffer them. So did ancient saints. The 
apostles, after receiving a public scourging before a Jewish 
counsel, departed from their presence rejoicing that they were 
counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. They glo- 
ried in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecu- 
tions, in distresses, in imprisonments, and in the spoiling of 
their goods, deeming it a privilege thus to suffer in honor of 
their master, and knowing that it was given unto them in be- 
half of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer 
for him, and for his body's sake, which is the church. Nor 
is this strange, for in this way they best honor God, by re- 



The design of God in afflicting Ministers. 229 



fleeting his wisdom and power and truth and holiness in thus 
sustaining them whilst suffering in his cause. Besides, he 
most honored them also; for he thus shewed his confidence 
in their character, in their attachment to him and to his king- 
dom, and in their fortitude to endure any tortures that their 
enemies could inflict upon them. Those soldiers are the 
most honored who are sent on the most important and most 
perilous expeditions. Their general herein shews that he 
confides in their loyalty, and in their superior skill and cour- 
age. The scriptures say, "if ye be reproached for Christ's 
sake, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth 
upon you. Men by their slanders intend to dishonor you ; 
but God for your joyful endurance of them, intends that his 
own Spirit and glory shall rest upon you. 

In view of this subject, we see how important it is that 
ministers should guard against fainting in the day of trial. 
This would be inconsistent with their profession, and expose 
them to just reproach. "Behold, thou hast instructed many, 
and thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou 
hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come 
upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee and thou art 
troubled." But what is much worse, if in times of tribula- 
tion, they betray any lack of fortitude, or any fear of being 
overcome, they will not only defeat the design of their trials, 
but they will also, and that too much mote than any other 
class of men, dishearten the church of God. It would be as 
when a standard bearer fainteth in the crisis of battle. 
Nothing animates soldiers more than to see their colors float- 
ing; and if the bearers of them fall or faint, they will be 
panic struck, and break and flee before the enemy. Every 
commander knows that his success depends upon the confi- 
dence his troops have in his skill and bravery. Henry the 
IY., king of France, as he was about to commence the battle 
of Ivry, addressed his army and said, "Children, if you lose 
sight of your colors, rally to my white plume — you will al- 
ways find it in the path to honor and glory." Let us then, 
my afflicted brethren in the ministry, guard against a course 
so sinful, so dishonorable and so disastrous. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



VOL V. December, 1846. NO. 12. 

PROSPERITY IN THE CHURCHES : 

A Sermon by Rev. Stephen P. Hill. 

" Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, 
and were edified : and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the 
Holy Ghost, were multiplied." — Acts ix : 31. 

This rest was a relief from persecution, occasioned in all 
probability by the engrossing interest which the Jews at this 
time felt, in averting a terrible calamity which was threaten- 
ed against them by Caius Caligula, the then emperor of 
Rome. He had announced his purpose of sending an army 
to Jerusalem, to place his statue in the temple, with the 
name of Jupiter upon it; and had given orders to slay all 
those who should oppose this determination, and make the 
rest slaves. In the midst of so great a public terror, it was 
not likely that the Jews would have either leisure or inclina- 
tion to persecute the defenceless christians; and Caligula, 
being soon after assassinated in his own palace, there was a 
general suspension of hostilities against the churches. They 
had rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and 
were edified. The manner of expression in this passage, 
evidently implies that the edification and increase experienced 
by the churches at this time, was the result of their walking 
together in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the 
Holy Ghost; and hence, when a church thus walks, it has 
every reason to expect to be both edified and multiplied. I pro- 
pose in this discourse to describe the means of prosperity in 
the churches, and to consider in what their true glory con- 
sists. There are many dangerous and fatal mistakes made 
on those points, and it is important that the subject should 
be better understood. Many appear to look at a church 
much in the same light in which they regard some worldly 
concern, that must depend on certain external aids and ad- 
31— Vol. V. 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



231 



vantages, to give it respectability and success in the eyes of 
men. Even the settlement or displacement of a minister, 
has come with many to be received in the light of a com- 
mercial transaction. The spirit of worldliness, the rage for 
popular effect, ihe principle of sordid calculation, mingle, it 
must be, confessed, to a very great extent, in some of the 
church's purest elements, and fall like a blighting curse 
upon all its spiritual condition. How much reason have all 
who are conscious of such motives existing among them, 
to fear the indignant frown of Him who hath said: "Ex- 
cept thou repent, I will come quickly and will remove thy 
candlestick out of its place." 

Guided then only by the light of eternal and immutable 
truth, let us proceed prayfully to enquire: 

I. In what the true glory of a church does 

NOT CONSIST. 

It does not consist in its amount of wealth. In the eyes 
of God, it must readily be conceived, that glitter of gold, or 
the certificates of bank stocks can have no beauty, and can 
afford no ground of admiration. He, who was the bright- 
ness of the Father's glory 3 and the express image of his per- 
son, during his sojourn in our world was a poor man. He 
had not even where to law his head. And we read of those, 
of whom the world was not worthy, who wandered in de- 
serts and in mountains, and in dews, and caves of the 
earth. Perhaps the christian church never exhibited so 
beautiful a moral spectacle, or was so truly prosperous, as 
when so many possessors of lands or houses, sold them, and 
brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them 
down at the apostles' feet; or when afterwaids, that persecu- 
ted fleck of Christ took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, 
knowing that in heaven they had a better and an enduring 
substance. 

A religious society may have worldly wealth, and grandeur, 
and power, and yet be in the eyes of the Saviour, poor, and 
wretched, and blind, and naked. It was so with the Laodi- 
ceans, and it is so with many a church in the present day, 
rich in worldly goods, but poor in the graces of the Spirit. 
Yet let us not be misunderstood. Wealth is a great blessing 
when consecrated to Christ. It is a part of that beautiful 
prophecy relating to the glory of the church in the latter 
days, that its " sons shall be brought from far, their silver 



232 



Prosperity in the Cliurches. 



and their gold with them." The danger is in the abuse. 
"Lest thine heart be lifted up, and thou say in thine heait, 
my power and the might of mine hand, hath gotten me 
this wealth.'' It is the love of money which proves so great 
a curse. Not money, as a means of usefulness. 

Let us be thankful that amidst the many instances of a 
covetous spirit, there are some to whom God has given 
wealth from whom he has not taken the disposition to do 
good ; but who are giving animating proofs of genuine chris- 
tian benevolence, in the beslowmentof private charities ; and 
in the consecration of their abundance to the cause and king- 
dom of Christ. Such are ornaments, as well as pillars, in the 
church, and to such as upright stewards, the Lord will say. hi 
the time of reckoning: " Well done, good and faithful servant, 
enter into my joy." But they who possess and hoard riches, 
merely to leave them to their heirs, will leave no blessing 
with them here, nor secure by them any heavenly friend- 
ship hereafter. 

Nor do the glory and prosperity of the church consist in 
its amount of talent. True greatness of intellect and emi- 
nence of attainment, if accompanied with grace in the heart, 
and attended with genuine modesty and humility, are 
certainly of great value. Whatever church possesses such 
sanctified gifts, possesses ornaments, which it is perfectly pro- 
per and pious to covet. But there is a knowledge that pufT- 
eth up, and superior ability is not always attended with pro- 
portionate humility or honesty. They are not the wisest 
who talk the most. A superficial pretension to talent often 
makes its possessor conceited and arrogant. There are those 
like Diotrephes, who love to have the pre-eminence, and 
base their claims upon some supposed superiority of this 
kind. 

Now this is a spirit which the whole tenor of the bible 
most pointedly condemns. " Let nothing be done through 
strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem 
other better than themselves." " If any man among you 
secmeth to be wise, let him become a fool that he may be 
wise." Nothing is so truly beautiful as the childlike spirit 
of Christianity, or so impressive as the manner in which the 
Saviour inculcated it. " At that time came the disciples to 
Jesus, saying who is the greatest in the kingdom of hea- 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



233 



ven 9 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him 
in the midst of them, and said, whosoever shall humble 
himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the king- 
dom of heaven. 

Nor does the glory of a church consist in its numbers. 
Additions to the church, if they are of such as shall be saved, 
are certainly most gratifying evidences of posperity. But 
there has been of late a great propensity to swell the list of 
names, without sufficient regard to the qualifications of can- 
didates. We have no right to reject any from our fellowship 
whom Jesus Christ has received. But that is the question. 
Has he received them? Are they truly his? Now on these 
points sufficient stress is not laid. Sufficient time to decide 
them satisfactorily, is not given. The anxiety to make a 
great show of numbers too often prevails over a wise and 
careful prudence, and the result proves in the long run ex- 
ceedingly disastrous to the interests of true religion. 

The one hundred and twenty disciples who were collected 
together in an upper room in Jerusalem, and there continued 
with ons accord in prayer and supplication, had more power 
with God, and were qualified to exert a greater moral influ- 
ence on the world, than the thousands who composed the 
Jewish church. It is not the multitude of beings that con- 
stitutes prosperity, it is the holy and harmonious spirit that 
pervades them. "Is not the gleaning of the grapes of 
Ephraim, better than the vintage of Abiezer?" Is there not 
more beauty, more strength, in a well chosen, well united, 
well disciplined band, than in armies, brought together with- 
out suitable qualification, without proper views of duty, 
without harmony among themselves, or fidelity to their 
standard? It was Gideon, and his three hundred men, that 
put the hosts of Midian to flight, — and how soon would the 
church baffle the powers of darkness, and the hosts of hell, 
were all her professed adherents "called, chosen and faith- 
ful." But alas! how many there are who weaken her 
strength by the mere profession without the reality of godli- 
ness ! How many that are ready to follow her standard in 
form, but desert it in principle! How many that profess ad- 
herence to Christ in words, who, when called to the perform- 
ance of some self-denying duty, or to the sacrifice of some 
favorite sin, turn back and walk no more with Him ! 
Hence, it is not what a church is for six months, but what 
32— Vol. V. 



234 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



it is for six years, that proves its true glory and prosperity. 

Nor, once more, do these consist in mere occasional reli- 
gious excitements. 

On this point, I desiie to be explicit. Revivals of reli- 
gion are God's work. When correctly understood, and when 
truly what they profess to be, revivals of vital religion, pro- 
duced by the influence of the Holy Spirit, are the greatest 
blessings that the churches can crave. By a revival of reli- 
gion, we understand that divine work of grace, which pro- 
motes an increase of holiness in the hearts and lives of chris- 
tians, and the conversion and salvation of the impenitent 
world. But how important it is that we should distinguish 
here, between the mere movements of animal passion and 
the genuine operations of the Holy Ghost ! You must rea- 
dily perceive, that much that passes under the name of revi- 
val may be spurious, and that such abuses of it may some 
times take place, as must cause the pious heart the greatest 
grief. By such abuses, too many churches are led to sup- 
pose, that instead of pursuing a steady, calm, persevering 
course of piety, they must regard religion as a periodical 
thing, and make up for all deficiencies and errors, after a 
daik and dreary interval of declension, by the effervescence 
of their long sleeping zeal. Such a religion, instead of be- 
ing recommended by a consistent, uniform example, and 
adorned by the daily beauty of the life, will be very apt to 
be marked by, at best, fitful endeavours, and equivocal evi- 
dences, if not stained by acts of open and glaring inconsis- 
tency. It will scarcely be the religion of patient continu- 
ance in well-doing. Another bad effect of these spurious 
kinds of excitements is, that they create a morbid appetite 
for something novel, amusing and exciting; and leading the 
mind away from the calm contemplation of God, from the 
silent study of his word, and from the sweet scenes of fami- 
ly and closet religion, give it an unnaUual craving for some- 
thing, it hardly knows what ; and create in it a fastidious- 
ness, that at length is satisfied with nothing at all. In addi- 
tion also to what has already been remarked, it may be here 
again stated, that there is danger at such times of gathering 
in all the subjects of a prevailing religious excitement, as 
soon as they can be persuaded to make a public profession of 
religion. Nay, they are oftentimes urged to this course 
without seeing their own duty clear; while others, more 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



235 



forward, are frequently received without sufficient attention 
to their previous moral habits, or present religious character. 
Now all experience proves this course to be perilous. Mul- 
titudes, it is to be feared, are thus hurried into the churches, 
who prove, after sufficient time has elapsed, that they never 
had the root of the matter in them. According to a beauti- 
ful comparison of Edwards, there will be during the blos- 
soming and budding of a revival, many fair flowers that will 
bring forth no fruit to perfection, ot none but bad fruit. 
Shall then no time be allowed to test the truth of these 
promises? Does not every dictate of prudence, and every 
principle of benevolence teach us wait a while, till we and 
they may see whether their hope is rooted and grounded, or 
whether they are only stony-ground hearers ? If it be said 
that the apostles received their converts without any delay, 
the answer is that the present times will bear no comparison 
with those times when martyrdom looked the individual 
who dared to profess himself a christian, full in the face. 
Our only basis of judging ourselves and others in these times, 
is the patient continuance in well-doing. Our only test is 
that which the Saviour has laid down in these words, " by 
their fruits ye shall know them," and why should there not 
be reasonable opportunity allowed to observe those fruits? 
Evidence of a work of giace should be sought and demand- 
ed of every candidate who would seek a union with the 
mystical body of Christ. Otherwise he is not likely to 
adorn his doctrine, or to be comfortable and happy in the 
situation in which he will be placed. He will be very 
likely ere long to be dissatisfied with the self-denying du- 
ties of religion and to give trouble to those with whom he is 
associated. And he may indeed, for a while, be attentive to 
the form of godliness, display great zeal, and seem to evince 
sincerity, but when tribulations, or persecutions arise because 
of the word, he will be offended and fall away. Such per- 
sons mistake the nature of true and acceptable religion, and 
having not sufficient depth of principle, the first scorching 
heat withers it away. Their hearts are not radically 
changed; and it cannot be for the honor and happiness of 
a church to have within its bosom those who never having 
been truly convened will either require excommunication 
from the body, or remaining as component parts of it, will 
eventually subvert its spirituality and work its destruction. 



236 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



II. What then does constitute prosperity in a 

CHRISTIAN CHURCH? 

A church is a company of believers in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who have voluntarily associated themselves together 
for mutual edification, and for the enjoyment of those divinely 
appointed means which their great Head has left to be ob- 
served, and by which he designs that they shall be sanctified. 
A church is a society with this peculiarity, that its frame 
and constitution are of divine appointment, and its gradations 
of station are arranged by God himself. It is a society of 
persons called to be saints, redeemed by the blood of Christ, 
and sanctified by the Spirit, and chosen to shew forth the 
praise and promote the glory of the Father. The model of 
such a society may be seen in the first christian church at 
Jerusalem, the description of which is contained in the 2d 
chapter of the Acts of the apostles, from the 41st to the 47th 
verses inclusive. Except as varied by some unimportant 
circumstances, this description will apply to the christian 
church every where and in every age. Their having pos- 
sessed at this time all things in common, was merely the re- 
sult of their peculiar circumstances, — their exposure to every 
form of violence which the strong arm of a persecuting 
power could employ. In other respects, the character and 
constitution of the church in every age is the same. How 
beautiful was the spectacle thus exhibited ! It was not ne- 
cessary that such a church should be enclosed with the mag- 
nificence of external accommodations. They needed no 
splendid and imposing ritual. The gorgeous rites and cere- 
monies of the Jewish temple service, were insignificant in 
comparison with the glory of that worship which ascended 
from purified and sanctified hearts; and all outward gran- 
deur were as nothing in comparison with that internal peace 
and prosperity which He affordeth, whose residence is the 
humble and contrite spirit. Here was the associated strength 
of goodness, of gentleness, of faith, of joy, of love. Here 
was the budding of that communion and companionship, 
which leaving the sorrows of earth, is destined to unfold and 
expand into the full-blown glories of immortality. Here 
was the great design which God had in the organization of 
such a society, realized by the increase of holiness in the 
souls of believers and the conversion of sinners to the know- 
ledge and obedience of the truth. Now where these great 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



237 



ends are attained, a church is in a prosperous condition. If 
collectively and individually, it is growing in grace, advanc- 
ing in the knowledge of God, and made useful to the world, 
then its prosperity is certain. It will be both edified and 
multiplied. Let me specify a few particulars. 

1. The prosperity of a christian church consists in the 
character of its members. I have said before not in their 
wealth, or their talents, or their numbers. I now say in their 
character. What is a true christian character? We need not 
be long in answering this question. The genius of Chris- 
tianity is peculiar. It differs from any thing recognized by 
the world, and yet it commends itself to every man's con- 
science in the sight of God. The character of the christian 
is the character of Christ; the lowliest, yet the sublimest of 
all character. Now if we would learn what the character 
of Chiist is, we must study it in the four Evangelists, and 
in the Epistles of the New Testament. Go and make it 
your constant study, and stop not at admiration, but imitate 
and live. " Let the same mind be in you which was also 
in Christ Jesus." Transcribe on your own character the 
meekness, the benevolence, the humility, the love, the good- 
ness, the gentleness of Christ, and aim to exhibit in dazzling 
lustre and attractive beauty, from your own life, those graces 
of the Spirit which alone can constitute the evidence of your 
filial relation to God. 

" Thus shall we best proclaim abroad, 
The honor of our Saviour God, 
When his salvation reigns within, 
And grace subdues the power of sin." 

Then, whether we be many or few, whether rich or poor, 
in this world's goods, we must of necessity, exert a powerful 
influence in the community where we reside, and ultimately 
on the world at large. We shall be like a city set upon a 
hill, whose light cannot be hid. In our individual, and also 
in our associated character, we shall shine as light-houses in 
the world, holding forth the lamp of life. We shall be 
living and beautiful exemplifications of the truth and power 
of the gospel, standing out to the eye of the community as 
a holy and distinctive people ; and the effect will be great 
indeed, in giving efficacy to the means of grace, and aiding 
the ministry in the great work of saving souls. Every mem- 



238 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



ber would thus be an epistle known and read of all men, 
and would win by his lovely deportment all who came with- 
in the sphere of his influence to the Saviour and to heaven. 
Many would say, we will go with you for we are persuaded 
that God is with you. Yea, nations would go and say, come 
let us go up to the house of the Lord, to the temple of the 
God of Jacob, for he will teach us his ways, and we will 
walk in his paths. 

2. The prosperity of a church depends in a very great de- 
gree, upon the mutual respect and confidence between the 
pastor and the people. The limits of a single discourse, 
especially of a single topic, will not admit of the mutual 
duties of this relation being explained as they deserve to be. 
Much depends upon the character of the minister, and much 
depends upon what his people make him, and upon the 
manner in which they uphold his hands, and support his 
labors. Popular and attractive qualities, fine speaking, elo- 
quent sentences, and brilliant images, have never appeared 
to us the most desirable qualifications to be sought, or at 
which to aim in a christian pastor. 

" I seek divine simplicity in him 
Who handles things divine." 

A minister should aim, in our opinion, rather to be useful, 
and that in the long run, than showy and popular for a sea- 
son. If we have not wholly misapprehended the nature 
and design of the ministry, its object is best promoted by 
laboring diligently and perseveringly in a plain and serious 
manner, as under the eye and approbation of God, and doing 
from the heart the Saviour's work in his own way. The 
minister should, indeed, be possessed of gifts. He should 
have, if possible, the advantages of learning. He should be 
especially, mighty in the scriptures, and he may be an elo- 
quent man. But above all, he should be pre-eminently a 
man of piety and prayer. Luther's remark was, that three 
things made a divine, prayer, meditation and temptation: and 
it is related of the celebrated Austin of Hippo, that being 
asked what was the first thing in the ministry, he said, "hu- 
mility" When asked what was the second, he answered, 
" humility," — and what was the third, he still returned the 
same answer, "humility " 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



239 



Now, in order to render a pious and devoted minister's 
labors useful and efficient, there must be on the part of the 
people, a spirit of sympathy, and of kind co-operation. He 
is but a man, a weak and imperfect man at best ; a man of 
like passions with others. Take these things into considera- 
tion. Where you can make allowance for him, put, if 
possible, the best construction upon his conduct, and try to 
uphold and guard his reputation. If this is taken away, 
the right arm of his influence is broken, the moral sinews of 
his strength are paralized. He must have a good report of 
them that are without, and his good name is infinitely more 
precious to him than the costliest ointment. Do not take it 
away from him. Do not watch for his halting. Do not 
wrest his words. Do not misrepresent his actions. Do not 
exaggerate his faults. Do not seek to pick flaws in his char- 
acter. Do not make or listen to insinuations against his mo- 
tives. Do not conspire against his peace. All this is un- 
worthy of those who bear the christian name, and directly 
contrary to the express commands of the word of God. Your 
minister, whoever he may be, is a man. Your kindness to 
him may make him a better and more useful man, but his 
faults, as I have some where lately seen it said, increase like 
snow-balls by being rolled about, and when you once have 
spoken against him you feel compelled, right or wrong, to 
substantiate it. Try, therefore, to deal kindly and candidly 
with him. Encourage him. Come with your families, 
like Israel's tribes, to the house of God, and animate his 
heart, and your own, by the sublime spectacle of a thronged 
sanctuary. Go out and invite guests to come in, and throw 
open your doors with cordiality to the stranger. Fix the eye, 
and open the ear, enjoin silence, and, above all, seek for 
the preparation of the heart which is from the Lord, and 
your minister will be animated. But coldly enter, and care- 
lessly sleep in the house of God, or lock up the heart in the 
gloomy and frozen cells of indifference and worldliness, and 
what zeal, though it be the zeal of a seraph, could survive 
in the midst of such discouragement? With an aching and 
broken heart, he would utter the mournful lamentation of 
the prophet : " I have labored in vain. I have spent my 
strength for nought." Unless a people sustain a man there- 
fore by their sympathies, by their prayers, by their exertions, 
by their good lives, his ministry will not be efficient, the 



240 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



church will not be in a prosperous condition. No preaching 
on earth could be rendered effectual under such circumstan- 
ces. And though an angel from heaven should preach the 
gospel, which the imperfect man must now preach through 
much weakness of the flesh, still the effect would be the 
same. It is no difficult thing, and I fear no uncommon 
thing, for the members of a church to defeat entirely the 
great ends of the ministry in this way. The beloved John 
felt this, and therefore exhorted in his day: "Look to your- 
selves, that we lose not those things that we have wrought 
among you, but that we receive a full reward." The apos- 
tle Paul felt this, and therefore cast himself on the prayers 
of the brethren, and besought the fellowship of their sympa- 
thy, so that the word of God might have free couise and 
run and be glorified. The Lord Jesus himself refers to this 
when he exhorts the church of Sardis. — Rev. iii : 2-3. 

3. The prosperity of a church depends upon the harmony 
and wise administration of its government. This is a mat- 
ter certainly of some importance. I have given much at- 
tention to this subject, and I am not aware that any particu- 
lar mode of government is in the New Testament clearly 
and unequivocally laid down. Without, therefore, speaking 
dogmatically upon the subject, I may say, with my present 
light, I believe that the independent form was the primitive 
one, and is the preferable one. The independent form, 
however, like all others, it must be admitted, is liable to 
abuse, and, except in a church, every individual member 
knows his duty and his place, and is disposed to respect the 
stations which God himself has arranged, and to regard the 
authority which God himself delegated ; if these stations are 
to be usurped, and this authority to be despised; if secret ex- 
traneous influences are permitted to work in under-currents 
against this very independence, and individuals of artful 
policy may be found, from any motives, to presume to dic- 
tate where they have no right to dictate; the independence 
of such a body exists only in name. Give me a govern- 
ment for protection, not for destruction, for comfort and secu- 
rity, not for annoyance, for the maintenance of my just 
rights, not for throwing my rights, and feelings, and charac- 
ter, to the winds. No, if a church professes to be independ- 
ent let it be independent. Let it not submit to dictation in 
any form, but let it respect that official character which God 



24 L 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



himself has vested with authority for the good of the whole, 
and without which all government is but an unsubstantial 
shadow. It is a want of a proper understanding of these 
things, that makes mischief in churches. The government 
of a church is not sufficiently understood ; above all, the 
bible is not sufficiently studied with a view to the relative 
duties of members. If these relative duties were better un- 
derstood, the churches would be in a better condition. There 
would be fewer contentions. Every one would be better 
likely to know his place, and the beautiful harmony of the 
whole would be preserved. The church would then be like 
an imposing temple, built of living stones, each in its appro- 
priate station, and all according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part, would make increase of the body 
unto the edifying of itself in love. Good men would look 
on and joy to behold your order and the steadfastness of 
your faith in Christ. Angels would smile with satisfaction, 
and even the world would exclaim : " Behold, how good 
and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in 
unity." 

4. But I must close with this remark, that the prosperity 
of a church depends, above all, upon the crowning influ- 
ences of the Holy Spirit. " Walking in the fear of the 
Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multi- 
plied. " The comfort of the Holy Ghost! What an 
expression, and how much it conveys. Do you see a church 
walking in these? It must of course be a lovely, a happy, 
and prosperous church. Do you see a church destitute of 
these? Surely you then see a state of spiritual decay and 
fruitlessness, and death. Without the influence of the Holy 
Spirit, all other means are of no use. Paul may plant, and 
A polios water, but it is God that giveth the increase, and 
where the increase of God is not given, there is no spiritual 
prosperity. A congregation may deem itself strong in wealth, 
in numbers, in union, and the possession of all outward ac- 
commodations, and abundance of means, ordinary and ex- 
traordinary. But without the presence of God it will be 
smitten with spiritual decay and sink into stupor and death. 
It is the presence of God in his sanctuary, that constitutes its 
real glory and prosperity, and makes it the gate of heaven 
to those who worship there. It is his Spirit attending the 
ministration of his word and ordinances that renders them 
33— Yol. V 



Prosperity in the Churches. 



242 



profitable to the people, and builds them up in faith and love. 
And the first prayer that should be breathed from a back- 
sliding heart, or from a declining congregation, should be 
that of the Psalmist : " Create in me a clean heart, O God ; 
and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from 
thy presence ; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Re- 
store unto me the joy of thy salvation. Uphold me with 
thy Holy Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways ; 
and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Yes, then shall sin- 
ners be converted unto God. Then, when Zion puts on her 
beautiful garments, shall she look forth fair as the sun, clear as 
the moon, and terrible to her enemies, &c. Then, when 
God is merciful to us, and blesses us, and causes his face to 
shine upon us, shall his way be known upon the earth, his 
saving health among all nations; what convincing reality 
and power would such a spectacle of individual holiness and 
collected grace carry to the world ! What an object of min- 
gled delight and awe would it be ! How would God be 
pleased to bestow upon us greater blessings as our faith, and 
love, and holiness should increase, and how should we be en- 
riched with all spiritual knowledge and grace, w 7 ith the assu- 
rance of understanding, faith and hope! Then might we 
arise and shine, our light being come, and the glory of the 
Lord having risen upon us! Then should our light break 
forth as the morning, and our health should spring forth speed- 
ily, and our righteousness should go before us, and the 
glory of the Lord should be our reward. Then should we 
call, and the Lord would answer, we should cry, and he 
would say, " Here I am." O Lord be here with us! O 
Lord forgive! O Lord hearken and defer not for thine 
own sake! O my God, for thy city, and thy people that are 
called by thy name. Hear now I beseech thee O Lord. O 
Lord I beseech thee send now prosperity. Amen. 



THE 



BAPTIST PREACHER. 



ORIGIN A L— MONTHLY. 



REV. HENRY KEELING, 



EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR 



NEW SERIES—I 847, 



RICHMOND: 

H. K. ELLYSON, PRINTER, MAIN STREET, 
1847, 



INDEX FOR 1847. 



Jan.— The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, by Rev. David Shaver, 

Richmond, Va 1 

Editorial Address 15 

Feb.— The Christian Theory of Social Happiness, by Rev. John N. 

Brown, Lexington Va 17 

The Pulpit, incidentally, by the Editor 35 

March. — The Perfection of Revealed Truth, &c, by Rev. J. J. 

James, of North Carolina 37 

The Criticism of Sermons, by the Editor,. 51 

April. — Christ Crucified, by Rev. A. D. Gillette, Philadelphia 53 

Mav. — Eminent piety in the Church essential to the successful prose- 
cution of the Missionary Enterprise, by Rev. John Teas- 
dale, of New Jersey 65 

" Ye are bought with a price," a short sermon, by Rev. Robt. 

B. C. Howell, D. D., of Tennessee. 83 

June. — The Divine Rectitude, by Rev. J. L. Reynolds, of Va 85 

(The Efficacy of Prayer, by the Editor, 94 
Support of the Ministry, an extract from a sermon of Prof. 
> S. G. Hillyer, of Ga 97 

July. — The Mammon of Unrighteousness, by Rev. J. R. Scott, of 

Virginia 102 

Moral Culture, especially in youth, by Rev. David Shaver of 

Virginia 114 

Editorial Note 125 

Aug.— Ministerial Ordination, by Rev. R. B. C. Howell, D. D. of 

Tennessee 127 

Note by the Editor 144 

Sept. — The Universal Dominion of Christ, by Rev. A. T. Holmes, 

of Georgia 147 

Impediments to the Progress of the Gospel — an extract.... 166 
Oct. — The faithful Minister's Course, by Rev. Jas. C. Clopton of 

Lynchburg Va 167 

Meditation — an extract, 180 

Nov.— The Certainty and the Justice of the Destruction of the Sin- 
ner, in his Rejection of the Gospel, by Rev. Wm. Hill 

Jordan, of N.C 183 

Dec— Ministerial Education, by Rev. John N. Brown, of Va. . . . . 199 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



New Series, January, 1847, No. 1, 



THE CONVERSION OF PAUL THE APOSTLE: 

A sermon preached by Rev. David Shaver, pastor of Grace Street Baptist 
Church, Richmond, Va., before the Strawberry Association, at Hunting 
Creek meeting-house, Bedford county, Va., May 10, 1846. Published 
by request of the Association. 

And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord ichat wilt thou have me to do ? 
And the Lord said unto him, arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee 
what thou must do. — Acts ix : 6. 

The gospel is a system of lofty claims, and of mighty 
achievements to comport with them. — It asserts a title to the 
whole earth, now burdened and crushed beneath the mis- 
government of Satan. Every development gives forth indi- 
cation of a power, which can neither subside into inactivity 
nor crumble into decay, competent, when the fullness of time 
shall arrive, to reduce the vast, the disputed, the pre-occupied 
inheritance to possession. — It declares that its visits and its 
bounty have been ordained for all people, nations and lan- 
guages. Though veiled and shrouded in mist by the errors 
of its advocates, we behold it this day, with strong elastic 
step, marching rapidly along the path to acquaintance with 
universal human nature and triumph over her. Glorious are 
the conquests which abide thee, oh ! word and counsel of 
Almighty God ! 

When the events of this world are arrested in their course, — 
when Jehovah shall look over the immense page of moral 
character corrected from its errors, and stereotype it for eter- 
nity, — when the spirits of just men made perfect shall, then, 
set themselves down to trace Christianity through all its influ- 
ences, a pure diffusive leaven to the mass of mankind, it 
will be found that the primitive age of the church, its mere 
infancy, its dayspring, vies with every subsequent era in the 
splendor, if not in the number, of its monuments to divine 



2 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



grace. The entire sacramental host admitted into the holy 
Jerusalem, thronging the streets which though of gold are 
even as transparent glass, — the personage mentioned in the 
text shall stand second to none, in illustration of the power, 
and wisdom, and mercy, which, through the second Adam, 
have brought life everlasting to the defiled posterity of the 
first. His writings and his history shed mutual light upon 
each other. Alike by his pen and by his experience is he 
announced to us as " a pattern of all long-suffering in Jesus 
Christ," — an irresistible demonstration that the covenant and 
the promise throw their embrace around " the chief of sin- 
ners." For his recovery from the bondage of the evil heart, 
it was necessary that the arm of the Lord should be revealed, 
breaking through the moulding influence of early education, 
the inveteracy of more mature prejudice, the solicitations of 
interest, the intoxicating hope of distinction, the intense and 
terrible excitement of successful persecution, and that strong- 
est chain of captivity to the devil, the pride of self-righteous- 
ness. What joy should pervade the bosom when we 
remember that the same agency, without coldness in its love, 
or check in its omnipotence, or change in its faithfulness, 
attempts the arduous work of salvation for our infirmity, and 
goes forth into the bosom of society, under its present lower- 
ing aspects, breasting and rolling back the floods of iniquity. 
If this salutary lesson may engrave itself more deeply upon 
a nature, even after its renewal, prone to timidity, we shall 
be amply rewarded for a patient and particular examination 
of the text. To this let us now address ourselves, with 
humble prayer for the instruction of the Holy Ghost, the 
light of earth's darkness, the vision of man's blindness. 

I. First, then, consider Heroic Paul — trembling. 

Here and there, in the annals of our race, noble spirits ap- 
pear, pregnant with enterprise, intrepidity, valor and forti- 
tude, — the suns of successive generations, kindling a halo of 
glory around their names, their countries and their times. 
They have "looked on tempests and were never shaken." 
They have been firm to hold the helm of the laboring ves- 
sel and to guide it safely over the troubled sea, or to sink 
when it has been engulfed, with a lip that would not pale 
and a heart that would not fear. They have been animated 
by the sublime sentiment, "that the best buckler is a breast 
which does not dread to show itself uncovered to the enemy." 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



3 



When all the elements of society around them have been 
spurred into fury, — when desperation has maddened the 
spirits of men, and the thirst for blood has flashed its light- 
ning from the eye, they have stood, collected and serene, 
communing with their own high thoughts, which could 
neither be trammeled nor convulsed, — as the mountain sum- 
mits take no share in the unrest of the clouds driven about 
by violent winds. 

In this rank Paul finds his proper level. Confident, with- 
out vanity — daring, but not reckless — knowing his own 
strength, yet unwilling to despise the weakness of others — 
combining a philanthropy that wept over the sorrows of hu- 
manity, with a magnanimity that confronted fearlessly its 
wrath, — his career in the ministry, if marked by all the forms 
of opposition, was no less distinctly characterized with the 
features of a tranquil superiority to them. He was afflicted 
with stripes above measure; he was often thrust into prison; 
once was he stoned; thrice suffered he shipwreck; but these 
things did not move him : could not. His soul renewed the 
flame of its energies and made strong the bands of its perse- 
verance, though he was encompassed with perils by his own 
countrymen, with perils by the heathen, with perils in the 
city, with perils in the wilderness, with perils of robbers, with 
perils among false brethren. No fear sent its unmanly chill 
shivering across his breast, or relaxed his grasp for a moment 
from the sword of the Spirit, in weariness and painfulness, 
in watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings, in cold and 
nakedness, in deaths. This true nobility of nature, when 
troubled on every side forbade that he should be distressed ; 
when perplexed, interposed its shield against despair ; when 
persecuted, assured him that he was not forsaken; when cast 
down, whispered in his ear, with tones which aroused to un- 
conquerable ardor, thou shalt not be destroyed. 

And yet it is this man, the dauntless, the lion-hearted, who 
stands before our view in the text "trembling!" Why 
should the agitation and affright which he never knew be- 
fore^ or after, take hold upon him now? Why? The veil 
which conceals God from mortal eye had been rolled aside, 
and the divine presence shed its awe upon him. Why? The 
robes of his own righteousness had been torn away, and he ap- 
peared in the nakedness and deformity of guilt, before the in- 
quisition of his Judge. Why? The arrows of the Most High 



4 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



were sticking fast in him, and holy anger, like an immeas- 
urable ocean, heaved to and fro its waves of liquid fire, 
threatening to submerge the persecutor of Christ. 

This deep and harrowing emotion of Paul need not sur- 
prise us. The expectation of wrath is natural to man. The 
conviction of wrong and of retribution, in the highest degree, 
wears the color of certainty about it. The conclusions of 
reason how luminous soever, the visions of imagination in 
all their grandeur, the ardor of affection kindled to its most 
eager intensity, have no such power to enchain us — to cast 
upon us a spell which we may not dissolve— to stare us iu 
the face fixedly with a gaze from which we would but can- 
not turn — as the moral faculty, with still small voice de- 
nouncing our unrighteousness. The most keen and exquisite 
sense of inward torture impressed upon human nature, is 
that which the displeasure of God inspires in its holiness and 
severity. There is nothing under which we may not sup- 
port ourselves better. It has thus been wisely ordered, that 
depraved intelligence should everywhere writhe beneath the 
scourge of its own guilt. Luther wrote to Staupitz, "Oh! 
my sins! my sins! my sins!" What shall blunt and turn 
the edge of that sword which the jealous Avenger of sin 
thrusts oft and deep into the heart which hates him! 

The fierceness of the vengeance of God (not to dwell 
upon the more comprehensive points of the doctrine,) appears 
from the fact, that for man's sake he has dealt by the mate- 
rial creation as if at enmity with it. The ground was cursed, 
it brought forth thorns and thistles, because of the transgres- 
sion of Adam. The rivers of Egypt were turned into blood 
to rebuke the pride of Pharaoh. The harvests of Canaan 
were checked and blighted, and eaten up by famine, the val- 
leys which were sown were not eared, that the eyes of Israel 
might be opened upon his wickedness. In every clime na- 
ture, by its convulsions, "seems to toll the death bell of its 
own decease." When this indignation comes to deal with 
the soul nakedly, how much more awful must its stroke be! 

There is language of David, which, I have sometimes 
thought, presents God in a more terrific attitude than when 
he is said to spring upon his adversaries roaring as a lion and 
tearing in pieces. It is so expressive of his dignity, even 
when he fills the office of destruction ; it so strikingly exhib- 
its the composure of the divine nature as unruffled by the 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



5 



storms which drown a corrupt world in despair. "He shall 
speak unto them in his wrath," — only speak unto them, — 
and they shall consume away. 

Now, from (lie apprehensions stirred within us by these 
things, those who will not renounce their sins can take no 
shelter in Christ. To him, indeed, the nations have been 
given. Not for purposes of mercy alone, however, but for 
purposes of wrath, — of wrath so terrible that even kings and 
judges perish from the way when it is kindled but a little. 
The impenitent are like a potter's vessel. The power of the 
Lamb of God, who is also seated as a king upon the holy 
hill of Zion, is a rod of iron. He will break them with it, 
dashed and shattered hopelessly. 
II. Secondly, consider Philosophic Paul— astonished. 

The most potent instrumentality which can be brought to 
act upon man is mind. The tongue of Cicero "preserves 
Rome's greatness yet;" more mighty far than all who led her 
to conquest, bringing us into captivity with thought! A 
"peasant's son" immured in the castle of Wurtenburg, with 
his pen moves the world, and reforms it. One whom kings 
called an "ignorant tinker," in Bedford jail, tracing the pro- 
gress of the pilgrim to the skies, sets the seal of his genius 
and piety upon all future ages. Mind, by the ordination of 
God, is the lever of illumination and purity to our race. 
Hence, at intervals regulated by his own designs, when it 
has become necessary to change the countenance of former 
systems and to send them away, — or when the gathering, 
swelling currents of intellect have threatened society with 
destructive inundations, if a wider and a deeper channel were 
not opened for them, he has raised up men of capacious 
powers, fitted, according to the crisis in which and for which 
they lived, to pluck up or to plant,, to pull down or to build. 
To them it has been given of Providence to serve as pioneers 
in the march of virtue and intelligence; for others more than 
for themselves to " ascend the brightest heaven of invention ;" 
to fire the world with an insatiable thirst after a new and bet- 
ter order of things; to cradle in their own bosoms the feeble 
germs of future improvement and elevation to empires; to 
loose the cords of ignorance and superstition from the eagle 
wings of truth, that, unrestrained in her flight, she may speed 
with full-spread pinion to the uttermost parts of the earth. 
When our species have stood, weary and panting, before a 



6 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



steep ascent on the mount of gradual progress toward perfec- 
tion, these " myriad minded/" men have been called to plant 
the foot firmly upon the rocky heights above, and to reach 
down a mighty hand, lifting up to their side the multitudes 
of more humble endowment. 

In this gifted class, we must place the great apostle to the 
gentiles. The peculiarities of mental character in the pen- 
men of holy writ, received maturity from the spirit that gave 
them utterance. The epistles of Paul prove that he was 
enriched with that rare combination of brilliancy and depth, 
of boldness and accuracy, which always distinguishes the 
higher order of genius. He saw things, not only as they 
are seen by the common eye, in development; but he saw 
"the seeds of things;" and his productions are full of them. 
He walked indeed beside the waters of truth in all their 
diverse meanderings; but he also went up to the fountain 
head, and standing there took in at a single comprehensive 
glance their entire course, as they flowed glittering on in the 
light of heaven. Under his hand, the mysteries of the 
gospel assume their most definite and tangible shape. Men 
are brought nearer to them by him, than by all " the choir 
of the prophets, and the company of the apostles." 

But when Christ was revealed to him, he was "aston- 
ished." He was filled with perplexity and wonder. His 
philosophy was put to shame. His opinions underwent a 
total revolution. To him was made foolish the wisdom of 
this world. The stumbling block became power unto salva- 
tion. He learned now that the cause which he opposed was 
the cause of God; of that God in whose name he opposed it. 
For the first time, he caught a glimpse f that amazing eco- 
nomy, which links the Old and the New Testaments as dis- 
tinct but harmonious members in the same system of divine 
moral government. No subject, perhaps, more forcibly dis- 
plays human blindness. Give your thought to it a moment. 

When it has been resolved to throw a bridge across a river, 
piers are erected; masses of solid stone work are upreared. 
Let one ignorant of the design visit the work in this stage. 
He might ask, what possible connection is there between the 
huge piles which you are building up? How shall men 
pass from one to the other, separated as they are by the 
dashing waters? Self- fancied superiority of wisdom might 
exclaim, oh mad expenditure and wastefulness of labor and 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



7 



means! Urge forward the enterprise to its completion. 
Place the bridge upon these foundation pillars, span by span. 
It will be seen that, though apparently isolated, that which 
was to come after them, and to rest above them, answers as a 
bond of union, enabling them all to effect what none of 
them could effect alone. In like manner has God carried 
himself toward mankind, to bring them over the wide and 
dangerous stream of ignorance and guilt to the land of life. 
To this end, at one point he raised slowly the patriarchal 
pier, sprinkled with blood. After a space, the Mosaic pier 
lifted its majestic but unique proportions aloft, wreathed with 
a cloud of incense. And again, the pier of prophecy, with 
its column overwritten in mystic characters, jutted up toward 
the sky, gleaming with strange rays of splendor, while the 
sun which shone upon it could not be seen. There they 
stood, masses of the solid stone work of truth, defying all 
the vehemence of the angry, turbid, raging floods. Yet un- 
belief 

" Blind from the birth, 
And dark in things divine," 

pressed the inquiry, what are these the one to the other? 
How shall our frail feet make their way upon them? But 
when Christ came out into open manifestation in the flesh, 
his doctrines and his righteousness were built upon these 
several dispensations, giving humility a path from the region 
of the shadow of death, to the delectable mountains of grace 
and hope. Then was it seen, that these things though stand- 
ing apart, were all constructed upon the same plan ; were 
fashioned upon a common line and model ; were designed 
each in its own place, to suppoit the scheme of mercy which 
has been provided as an inheritance for the world, as its pa- 
trimony from the Father of lights. 

When this, the brightest page in the records of the 
universe, was spread before the eye of Paul, it was meet 
that he should be " astonished." This feeling was height- 
ened, I am sure, by the discovery that the author of the 
religion which he had rejected and despised, did not in turn 
despise and reject him. The circumstances under which he 
perceived that the gospel emanated from God, brought into 
peculiar prominence its most striking feature: the exceeding 
riches of divine grace even toward the enemies of the cross. 



8 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



Christianity was intended to secure the highest end by the 
highest means. With its dignity, however, it has condescen- 
sion, confessing no equal in either. It contemns no one, not 
the lowest. It hates no one, not the most malignant. It for- 
sakes no one, not the most abandoned. It asks for every 
one; calls upon every one; pursues, and importunes, and 
prays, and besieges every one; it turned not away its face 
from its most inveterate opponent; its " enriching moisture 
drops on all things;" even the barren rocks which will know 
no fruit.fulness. 

III. Thirdly, consider persecuting Paul — subdued. 

Bigotry has no ear for the voice of reason. As well in 
religion as in philosophy, those over whom it reigns are gen- 
erally least open to conviction. It brings heat to the bosom 
without light — the heat of inflammation. It marries the 
creed, in a union seldom terminated by divorce, to the most 
malign and uncompromising passions, bred by " religious 
spite and pious spleen." Paul, prior to his conversion, was 
a bigot. He was taught according to the most perfect man- 
ner of the law of the fathers. After the strailest sect of the 
Jews, he lived a Pharisee. He was zealous toward God 
with that zeal, the offspring of tradition and self righteous- 
ness, which dotes about questions and strifes of words, with 
envy, evil surmises and gallings one of another; which de- 
veloped this tendency to the full in his generation, and must, 
in some measure, have taken the same direction in him. 

When this spirit, in connection with power, seeks to 
bind the belief and to coerce conscience, it becomes seven- 
fold a fouler thing. Why should it not be the more intracta- 
ble when it exchanges solicitation for the swoid, enforces 
doctrine with the gloom of dungeons, and preaches faith by 
fire and fagot? Oh, if the hands be dyed with the gore of 
a fellow -mortal — if murder, with her troop of blood-hounds 
kennel in the heart — if, while the eye knew no pity, we 
have violated and tortured the body which God has thrown 
within our grasp, to obtain tyrannical supremacy over the 
soul which he has reserved unto himself, how hardly shall 
the angel of truth find access to a nature thus lawless and 
infuriate against her! Were there but one exception to the 
sentiment of Swedenborg, that few men are so decidedly 
wicked, as upon death to merit immediate confinement in 
hell, we must seek this exception in the persecutor. Such 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



was Paul. The witnesses who stoned the first martyr, 
Stephen, laid down their clothes at his feet — he, also, con- 
senting to the death of that holy man. He made havoc 
of the church, entering into every house, and haling" men 
and women to prison. When they were robbed of life, he 
gave his voice against them. At Jerusalem he punished 
them oft in the synagogue, and compelled them to blas- 
pheme. Nay, being exceedingly mad against them, he pur- 
sued them with his malice even unto strange cities. The 
incident recorded in the text, occurred while he was on the 
way to Damascus, breathing out threatenings and slaughter, 
with authority and commission from the high priests to light 
there the torch of violence and destruction. 

The blind and delusive persuasion of the justice of per- 
secution, above all things, aggravates its bitterness, guards it 
against compunction, and freezes it into adamant. Let Satan 
but palm his sophistries upon men as the counsels of God, — 
let them mistake wrath for righteousness, — let them flatter 
themselves that the eye which inspects the universe marks 
with complacency their track of cruelty and oppression — 
rather than fail of their prey, they would draw blood from 
their own veins to sign the death-warrant of the righteous — 
the righteous, honored of heaven,, yet despised in their sight 
as a carcass trodden under foot. This chain, also, was upon 
Paul. He verily thought with himself that he ought to do 
many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 
He warred against the gospel with incredible activity; but 
he did it in u good conscience." If he was u injurious" to 
the church, it was " ignorantly, in unbelief." 

So entirely was the poison of Jewish prejudice spread 
throughout his bosom, — so profound was the darkness in 
which his miguided spirit groped, that before he would be- 
lieve, it was necessary recourse should be had to miracle. 
It was necessary that he should be stricken down at noon- 
day, in weakness and terror. It was necessary that he 
should be surrounded and dazzled by a light above the 
brightness of the sun when he shineth in his strength. It 
was necessary that Christ, appearing to him as to one born 
out of due time, should say to him with astounding empha- 
sis, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" When his 
eyes were thus opened upon himself, in departure from all 
the preferences and probabilities of his former life, casting 



10 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle 



himself down from the heights of presumption and obstinacy, 
he enquired of Him whom he had ever hated in his heart of 
hearts, with the voice of humility and the spirit of obedi- 
ence, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" Sublime 
triumph of divine mercy! The fiercest of the fire-brands 
was quenched in the blood of Christ. 

That was a day of excitement and storm, of rumor and 
doubtfulness, and sorrow and rage, which brought Jerusalem 
tidings of Paul's defection. It has seemed to me that I 
could look into the scowling eye, could catch the hasty, bit- 
ter tones of the Pharisees, as they grouped together at the 
corners of the streets, — not to pray as their wont was, — but to 
speak of interest — of mercenary motives — of delusion — of 
changelings, and hypocrites and renegades. This was 
their folly. Let heaven's own curse rest on apostacy from 
truth. But stay, stay thy hand, thou worm of fallibility and 
passion! lest haply thou shouldst smite with the rod those, 
who in renouncing thy creed, have but followed the guidance 
of celestial wisdom. Wouldst thou " be found even to fight 
against God?" 

The conversion of Paul sheds impressive illustration upon 
the design of our holy religion, and upon its efficiency in the 
consummation of that design. An ancient writer affirmed, 
that from the philosophy then in vogue, " men learned not 
to live, but to dispute." The Bible, however, teaches us not 
to dispute, but to live! It appears before the world, in the 
grand and awful sublimity of its divine origin, for no trivial 
purpose. Re-echoing the thunders of Jehovah, it portrays 
in frightful colors the horrible guiltiness of the human heart. 
All melodious with the tones of mercy in Christ, it proffers 
to throw over the dark picture, the snow-white robe of a pure 
and spotless righteousness. These influences are of such 
character as to set the spirit in motion; so to arouse its slum- 
bering energies to some "high or humble enterprise of good," 
that they shall never relapse into supineness nor corrupt into 
iniquity; to purify the imagination, to chasten the affections, 
to illumine the understanding, to restore to conscience its 
scale and rod, — and when they have taken their chiefest per- 
fection, to lay them, a living sacrifice, upon His altar who 
has purchased us with blood, even his own. Ye who have 
never obeyed this volume! I charge you this day with hav- 
ing opposed and defeated it, in the benevolent mission upon 
which it has been sent forth to you. 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



11 



Those who are led by the gospel will observe the will of 
God, as the Israelites in the wilderness were guided by the 
cloud which covered the tabernacle. While that cloud 
rested, whether for a week or a year, whether in scenery 
decked with nature's loveliness, or on the sterile bosom of the 
leafless desert, they abode in their tents. When that cloud 
was taken up, whether by day or by night, whether in the 
bridal or the burial hour, whether during the bright and 
blushing spring, or amidst the storms of frigid winter, they set 
forth again. Thus will the sheep hear the voice of the 
Shepherd, and walk in his steps. " Christ is the image of 
God, and every believer is the image of Christ." Said 
Gregory Nazianzen, of his mother, "her principle of action 
was, to make every thing subservient to religion." Cotton 
Mather writes, " 1 will relish all my enjoyments, even to my 
very meat and drink, chiefly, and if I can merely, under the 
notion of my being assisted by them in the knowledge or 
the service of God." 

IV. Fourthly, consider educated Paul — instructed. 

Minds of the nobler type are eager to " seize upon truth 
wherever it is found." Can they neglect it? 

"You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps 
Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den 5 
And tell me it is safe." 

Tarsus, the birth place of the apostle, was, in his age, a 
seat of learning,jhe co-rival of Athens and Alexandria in 
schools of philosophy and the polite arts. We may not 
question, therefore, his proficiency in that richest of ail an- 
cient literature — the Grecian. — This city was also the capital 
of the surrounding province. The mighty machinery of 
Roman law was there laid bare to inspection. Nor would 
an enquiring and talented youth forego an opportunity to 
penetrate the genius of the most perfect system of national 
government ever constructed by man, without the light of 
holy scripture. — Beyond this. Studious of the true religion, 
Paul went up to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of Gamaliel, the 
most eminent teacher of his times, had in reputation among 
all the people. There he profited in Judaism above many 
his equals in his own nation, being more exceedingly zeal- 
ous of the traditions of the fathers. Into what glowing 



12 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



emotions must his ardent spirit have kindled, — how compre- 
hensive views must have expanded and oppressed his intel- 
lect, — as he gazed, with eye intent and rapt, upon the 
revelation of God vouchsafed to his flock " at sundry times 
and in divers manners," while all that Moses recorded, or 
David sang, or the prophets foretold, passed in its glory be- 
fore him ! However, in the great question of salvation, these 
literary, political and theological acquirements availed him 
nothing. The scholar, the pharisee, was ignorant. He had 
not learned the lesson of obedience to the one Lawgiver. It 
remained yet to be told him what he should do to inherit 
eternal life. 

Yea, verily, God has not deposited the treasure of heaven- 
ly wisdom with the wisdom of this world. It is not nour- 
ished at the breast of antiquity. The lips of science do not 
proclaim it. These are not its interpreters. It does not 
stand before their mirrors. They have employed every en- 
gine to scale its mount; and employed them fruitlessly. I 
would not undervalue these things; it were better I should 
suffer a hundred deaths; but they attained their maturity 
without having known "truth, the daughter of the skies." 
They may be engrafted upon her, I allow: — would God 
they were! — they cannot bear her. While they have stood 
in the palaces of kings, and in their own palaces, robed in 
the gorgeous apparel of pride, she, in the tattered garb of pov- 
erty and reproach, has been driven for shelter to "holes and 
clefts of the rock." She has been beaten with the staff upon 
which they have leaned for support, — they have beaten her. 

Only God can bring man to himself. If we see light, it 
must be in his light; no other. We are wise through the 
illumination of his wisdom. 

The example before us involves another principle. Why 
did not Christ then respond to the enquiry of Paul, and de- 
clare to the trembling one, the astonished one, the subdued 
one, his duty? Why was he required to arise and go into 
the city, to learn from the lips of a man that which God re- 
fused to teach him from his own lips? In the case of Cor- 
nelius also. Why was the angel that came in unto him 
forbidden to unfold the secret of the Lord? Why was he 
directed to send for Peter, a worm of the dust like himself, 
and to receive at his hands the word of eternal life? The 
answer is obvious. Instruction in the things of the Spirit 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 13 



must be sought through its constituted channels. The period 
of supernatural visions and trances has passed away; and 
the period of audible voices, and emblematical appearances, 
and angelic manifestations from the sky ; and the period of se- 
cret impressions, breaking off the train of mental exercise with- 
in, and shedding over the judgment, without intermedium, a 
flood of celestial lights. Laying aside these elements of mi- 
raculous communication with mankind, the divine Teacher, 
whose purposes they subserved for a season in the times of 
ignorance, now proclaims the gospel through the written 
word and the living ministry. The temple of truth com- 
pleted, the mere scaffolding, though worthy of a heavenly 
architect, has been stricken away. Are doctrine, reproof, 
correction and instruction in righteousness requisite that the 
man of God may be peifsct, thoroughly furnished unto all 
good works? For these things the scriptures have been 
given by inspiration. Did Christ seek to edify his body, till 
we all come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God, unto a man of full stature and strength? 
With this design he appointed, with apostles and prophets 
for the first age, evangelists, pastors and teachers for all ages. 
These two points are presented elsewhere in a single pas- 
sage. " Faith comelh by hearing." Let all men, therefore, 
give earnest heed to the heralds of the gospel. "Hearing 
cometh by the word of God." Let the heralds of the gospel, 
therefore, restrict themselves to its accredited and sanctifying 
truths. It is as the depository of these things that the church 
is styled "the fullness of Him whofilleth all in all;" — since 
the counsels of God are published to the world, not by his 
own voice, but by the voice of his servants; and to their 
care as "stewards of manifold mercies," as well as to divine 
supervision, is entrusted the law which enlightens the eyes 
and makes wise the simple. 

If this view be correct, we must hold that the Holy Ghost 
is in the christian ministry, enlightening and converting men. 
The Spirit testifies to us of Christ, and we bear witness unto 
the world. Peter announced our distinguishing excellence 
when he spoke of us as those who "preach the gospel, with 
the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." Christians are 
the flock returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, 
and the Holy Ghost hath made us overseers among them. 
This sacred power will infuse itself into our words of weak- 
ness. 



14 



The Conversion of Paul the Apostle. 



If this view be correct, it argues the invariable presence of 
the Holy Ghost with the Bible. The author of a book lives 
in it. It is — himself: — thinking, speaking, pleading. But 
in a sense in which it may not be affirmed of any other book, 
the author of the Bible is with it everywhere. The Holy 
Ghost, in his real presence, as truly draws nigh to the minds 
which peruse it, as erst he drew nigh to the minds which 
penned it. Here it graces a centre-table, finding a position so 
prominent for the sake of the external elegance with which 
it glitters. The Holy Ghost is with it here! There it lies 
upon the corner of an old shelf, half buried under dust and 
cobwebs. The Holy Ghost is with it there ! Look, then, at 
your copy of the Bible, and reflect, the Holy Ghost is in that 
book. We come into a clear and profitable acquaintance 
with the doctrines of the gospel, only through that Spirit 
which gives to the word an evidence above all the evidence 
of argument, however logical, and a power above all the 
power of truth, however unadulterated and pure. 

In conclusion. — My brethren in the ministry! and my 
fathers! I am not called to set forth before your emulation 
the example of Paul. He has long been your model of 
sacrifice and labor. Continue to be followers of him, even 
as he also was of Christ. Catch yet more and more of his 
spirit, and communicate it to me, ye men of God! 

But will those who have hitherto " thrown their inch of 
time away," suffer a warning and a plea of christian affec- 
tion? My hearer, all who hope to rejoice with Paul, must 
first tremble with him. How numerous are the considera- 
tions which "speak thunder" in your ears! Recall the 
magnitude and enormity of your transgressions. The right- 
ous judgment of the day of wrath, when the heavens shall 
be bowed with the burden of divine majesty, and the heart 
of the wicked with the more fearful burden of divine ven- 
geance, shall " render to every man according to his works." 
While, therefore, unbelief is the ground of condemnation to 
the impenitent, while it must bind them in chains under 
darkness forever, the intensity of the fire which shall kindle 
upon them will be aggravated by all their unrighteousness. 
Every sin — of thought, of word and of action, shall find its 
own retribution; shall add bitterness to the cup of sorrow; 
shall introduce another arrow into the quiver of holy anger; 
shall open a lower depth before the fall of the shrinking 



Editorial Address. 



15 



spirit, which reaches forth after hope and grasps the stings of 
despair; shall increase the wretchedness which even without 
it is untold, immeasurable and fathomless. Your iniquities 
have increased over your head, and your trespass is grown 
up unto the heavens. Can you look upon the reckoning 
which awaits you and feel no dread? You feel no dread? 
Tremble, then, that you do not tremble! It is no task of 
difficulty to preserve this composure of mind, until it shall 
have destroyed you. Scarron, the poet, who spent his life in 
merriment, resolved to be gay upon his death bed. Almost 
with his latest breath he said, "1 never thought it was so 
easy a matter to laugh at the approach of death" So 
easy a matter! In this or another state of being, the sinner 
shall employ similar language. I never thought it was so 
easy a matter to make my heart hard against all fear. I 
never thought it was so easy a matter to brave the terrors of the 
Loid what time they come nigh to us. I never thought it 
was so easy a matter to step into hell with smiles. I never 
thought it was so easy a matter to be damned before we are 
alarmed. I never thought! — If I had, I would not now be 
found in this condemnation. I never thought! Oh ye 
dying souls, — dying, yet laughing, — think ! think ! ! Sub- 
dued, as Paul was, cry this day, Lord what wilt thou have 
me to do? And may He who has saved the chief of sinners 
save all ye! 



EDITORIAL ADDRESS. 

In appearing again before the patrons and readers of this paper, as its 
sole Editor and Proprietor, we beg leave to submit a few remarks, respect- 
ing, first, the conditions of the publication, and secondly, its subject 
matter and- prospects. 

1. Its conditions. The present number commences the sixth volume. In 
this series the volumes will not be numbered ; and thus each volume will 
be as totally independent of the rest, as if it were another work. The 
price is so low as to place it within the reach of every family, minister, 
deacon or Sunday school teacher ;— of almost every individual. It conflicts 
with no cotemporary work in the denomination, but is in fact a co-adjutor 
of all. The Editor hopes that the present year will secure a large accession 



16 



Editorial Address. 



to his list of subscribers ; and, if there were need of it, he would mention 
the grounds of his hopes : but this he deems unnecessary. Thi3 is a favora- 
ble period of the year for subscribing, — the beginning of a volume : — and 
the easiest method for doing it is, either that individuals send their names 
with the money, per mail, at the risk of the Editor, in gold, or notes of any 
specie paying bank ; or that parties of individuals, say of six, or twelve, 
or more or less, enclose their names and payments together. This will 
secure every fifth copy free to any one of the party so remitting. Every 
minister of the gospel may be thus supplied with the work, at no other ex- 
pense, than a little trouble. Thus, indeed, he may be supplied with all the 
religious, denominational periodicals of the day ; without the least depar- 
ture from the sphere of his ministerial vocation, and of course, of his 
official standing. Nay, he is thus conferring a great favor upon those whose 
co-operation he solicits, and is promoting to an untold extent, the various 
schemes of benevolence and usefulness, which are, after all, the noblest 
feature in the physiognomy of this wonderful age. In dismissing this part 
of this hasty notice, the Editor returns his sincere thanks to the individuals 
who have so kindly acted as voluntary agents in procuring readers and re- 
mitting funds, and requests a continuance of their favors : favors which 
evince the value of the enterprise in their estimation, and without which it 
could not have been undertaken, or if undertaken, must soon have fallen 
into ruin. 

2. Its subject-matter and prospects. The Preacher is, what it aims to be, 
and what its name imports ; it preaches, and it is essentially, not a secta- 
rian, but a denominational work. Its sermons, in the main, considered in 
their literary character alone, — as mere compositions, — have been declared 
by competent and disinterested judges, equal to any pronounced or written 
in any age or country. This is as high a reputation as we could have ex- 
pected ; and we intend to improve. In its religious character, its doctrines 
are those that have been handed down from the apostolic days — and its dis- 
cipline, on which several invaluable discourses have appeared, has been that 
of the great family of Baptists from time immemorial. On this latter sub- 
ject alone, there were two sermons in the last two years, by brother 
Chambliss of Alabama, which, in our judgment, ought to be in the posses- 
sion of every Baptist family in the United States. Either of these sermons 
is worth the whole year's subscription. And the first five back volumes 
are now offered at half the subscription price : thus making them free of 
postage to the subscriber. But it is important to remark, that hereafter, 
the editions will be only commensurate with the subscription list. 

H. KEELING. 



THE 

BAPTIST PBEACHER. 

New Series, February, 1847, No, 2. 



THE CHRISTIAN THEORY OF SOCIAL HAP- 
PINESS: 

A sermon preached before the Valley Association, at their session in May, 
1846, by Rev. J. Newton Brown, of Lexington, Va.; and published by 
a vote of the Association. 

Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said : It is more blessed to give, 
than to receive. — Acts xx : 35. 

The rarity and publicity, the solemn and joyful character 
of this occasion, combine to awaken some unusual expecta- 
tion in the minds of the assembly. A stranger as I am to 
most of you, brethren, did I appear here only to court your 
applause, the consciousness of the increased demand on your 
part, would only increase the difficulty and embarrassment 
on mine. But this house of God is not a theatre for dis- 
play. You have come here for another purpose, and so 
have I. You have come to hear something appropriate to 
the hallowed design of this christian assemblage, — some- 
thing that will do you good, — something that you will be 
glad to remember when this meeting of our happy family 
of churches is over, and you are returning to the ordinary 
business and trials of life. On this ground, brethren, I meet 
you to-day. On this ground I have something to say to 
you, and I can speak it with the cheerfulness and freedom 
becoming a minister of Chiist. I know that without him 
we can do nothing ; yet I bless him for this opportunity. I 
wish to set before you, as a body associated for his service 
and glory, a fundamental principle inculcated by him. — a 
principle that cannot he too often repeated, nor too strongly 
enforced, if we would see his cause flourish and prosper 
throughout the churches, and to the utmost bounds of the 
inhabited world. If this be, as I trust it is, the supreme 
desire of your hearts, — for ye are the messengers of the 



18 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 



churches, and the glory of Christ — I have only to request 
you to turn with me to Acts xx: 35, and remember the 
words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed 
to give, than to receive. 

If we were to judge from the conduct of mankind gen- 
erally, we should say, either that they had never heard these 
words, or that they did not believe them. If we select from 
the mass of mankind even the professed followers of Christ, 
and judge from their ordinary conduct, the best we could 
think of them, as a body, would be, that though they might 
have heard or read of this great maxim of their Master, they 
had either been strangely blinded to its meaning, or had as 
strangely forgotten to make it the rule of their own conduct. 
Brilliant exceptions, in modern times, as well as in the primi- 
tive ages of Christianity, there doubtless are, not only in the 
higher, but also in the humbler walks of life. But these 
exceptions, by their very brightness, only serve to throw the 
great mass of professed christians into the deeper shade. 

I need not, I am sure, detain you a moment in any criti- 
cal observations on the text. It is a matter of no consequence 
to inquire when and where these words of the Lord Jesus 
were uttered, and why they are not expressly recorded by 
the four Evangelists, in their brief memoirs of our Saviour. 
It is enough for us that they are here recorded. It is enough 
for us that they were well known, and proverbial among the 
primitive christians, — insomuch that the apostle Paul, in his 
touching farewell at Miletus, only deemed it necessary 
solemnly to call them to the remembrance of his brethren. 
It is enough to perceive that the vital spirit of the words, the 
great and paramount principle which they inculcate, breathes 
in every page of our Saviour's history, and warmed every 
pulse of his affectionate heart. 

That principle it seems impossible for any one who reads 
the words to mistake. It is clear that our Lord meant to be 
understood as laying down this great and comprehensive 
maxim, — that social happiness consists rather in doing, 
than in receiving good ; that our own happiness is best secu- 
red by endeavoring to promote the happiness of others; in 
other words, that christian benevolence, as opposed to selfish- 
ness, is the only true foundation of both public and private 
felicity. This is the great principle which I propose to 
illustrate. 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 19 

Yet I confess, my brethren, I feel as if it were almost 
wrong for me, who am so poor a proficient in this lesson of 
our Lord, to attempt to explain or enforce it upon you. 
Though, for more than twenty-five years past, I have sought 
to make it the basis of my social life, yet I feel to-day, be- 
fore God I deeply feel, that much of my own conduct lays 
me open to the keen rebuke : Physician heal thyself. But 
when I reflect how much our ignorance of the vast extent 
of the principle of the text, combines with our natural sloth 
and selfishness, to obstruct the progress of the cause of Christ, 
I feel like the blind and indignant Son of Manoah, when 
his hands grasped the pillars of Dagon's temple, and he 
said: Let me die with the Philistines. And when again I 
reflect what mighty consequences under God, have flowed 
from rousing the attention of the community to some great 
principle of social improvement, revealed in the Scriptures, 
but generally overlooked, I am ready to adopt the prayer of 
Sampson on that memorable occasion, when he bound 
himself with all his might, and said, O Lord God, remem- 
ber me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only 
this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the 
Philistines for my two eyes, — rather let me say of my own 
sloth and selfishness, for the blindness which they have 
brought upon my soul. And did my intellectual bear any 
proportion to his physical strength, gladly would I put it ail 
forth, at any sacrifice, to make you comprehend and feel the 
truth, the extent, and the personal application of the words 
of the Lord Jesus, it is more blessed to give, than to re- 
ceive. 

I affirm then, on the authoiity of these memorable words, 
that christian benevolence, as opposed to selfishness, is the 
only true foundation of public and private happiness. I say 
christian benevolence, because no other can be found in our 
fallen nature, sufficiently comprehensive in its aim, pure in its 
motive, powerful in its practice, or persevering in pursuit of its 
ends. The benevolence of mere constitutional impulse, 
however amiable, is partial, unsteady, unconnected, and in- 
efficient. The benevolence of infidel theorists, however 
plausible on paper, is practically still inferior, being in fact 
but a disguised and calculating selfishness ; as indeed was 
confessed by Lord Bolingbroke and Jeremy Bentham them- 
selves, the great leaders of the Utilitarian school. But 



20 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 



genuine christian benevolence is utterly opposed to selfish- 
ness, — by which last term I wish to be understood, not as 
intending a subordinate, innocent self-love, but self-love in 
its unholy excess, usurping the throne of the soul in the 
place of conscience and of God, and in that proud position, 
directly opposed to christian benevolence, and to both public 
and private happiness. 

I. Since all things are most vividly and strongly illustra- 
ted by contrast, I shall endeavor by that means to make you 
comprehend, in the clearest manner, the distinction and op- 
position between these two great principles of action. I 
know not how I can more forcibly impress you with the 
wisdom of our Lord, in laying down his great maxim of 
christian benevolence, than by asking you fiist to look for a 
moment at the consequences which flow, not from adopting, 
(for alas, it is too congenial to our fallen nature to need 
adoption,) but from acting upon the opposite principle. 

These consequences are all around us. They are within 
ns. Alas, the world is full of them! Sin is but selfishness 
in its ten thousand forms; and every selfish spirit acts upon 
a latent maxim the very reverse of that inculcated by the 
Lord Jesus. This maxim, brought out from its disguises, 
and put into words, would be : It is more blessed to receive, 
than to give ; or, as the modern phrase is, "keep all you 
get, and get all you can." 

Now for the application of this principle in practice. 
"Keep all you get;" that is to say, let no one be the better 
for your strength, talents, or learning, — for your labor, skill, 
or experience, — for your prayers, property, or influence. 
Happiness is your being's end, and happiness consists in the 
free gratification of your favorite desires. If your taste be 
for good eating and drinking, for fine clothes, houses, furni- 
ture or equipage, indulge yourselves, without regard to others, 
except to see that you lose nothing by them. Waste noth- 
ing upon the wants of the improvident poor, who are only 
idle, impudent and ungrateful. If your taste be for books, 
gratify yourself alone. Shut yourself up in your library. 
Never lend a book, for it will be sure to be injured or lost ; 
never communicate your knowledge, for people always hate 
to be told the truth. If you care for none of these things, 
and love nothing but money, secure your drawers and chests; 
see that your securities are good, and your stocks safe ; com- 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 21 



fort yourself with looking over your notes and bonds, your 
deeds and mortgages, your houses and lands, your silver and 
gold. Never think of any good your money might do to 
others, — how many destitute sufferers it might relieve, — 
how many schools it might establish, — how many tracts and 
other useful books it might procure for the benefit of thou- 
sands, — how many evangelists and colporteurs it might send 
out in our neglected settlements, — how many missionaries it 
might support among the heathen, — how many Bibles it 
might translate, print and circulate in the languages of the 
perishing people, to make them wise unto salvation. No, 
these are all visionary schemes with which no prudent man 
will trouble his head. Keep all you get for yourself; and 
when you must leave it in the course of nature, leave it ail 
to your children, or family connexions, — whether they need 
it or not, — whether it will be likely to benefit or ruin them. 
In a word, you may be a glutton, you may be a book- worm, 
you may be a miser, only keep all you get. 

But the one half of this miserable story is not yet told. 
The latter part of the maxim of selfishness infinitely ex- 
ceeds the former. " Get all you can," that is to say : be the 
sponge of the community. Stick at nothing to get along in 
the world — drive your business night and day, early and 
late ; allow yourself no pause for prayer, no parenthesis for 
reflection. Determine to be rich ; no matter though thereby 
you plunge yourself into temptation and a snare, and into 
foolish and hurtful lusts, which, the Bible says, drown men 
in destruction and perdition ; all this is nothing if you can 
only become independent, — if you can only acquire the 
character of an industrious, sharp and stirring man, who 
knows how to do his own work, and drives his own bargains. 
But you say you cannot dig. Never mind, then beg. Be 
a drone in the hive of society, and suck the honey from 
every one who is generous enough to feed you. Ask favors 
and kind offices of all, but render as few as possible in re- 
turn. " Get all you can." But you say, perhaps, to beg 
you are ashamed. Well then, continues the lying spirit of 
selfishness, since you must live in some way, and cannot af- 
ford to live honestly, get over all scruples of conscience, as 
you have those of honor, — covet that which is your neigh- 
bor's, and get all you can. Steal, lie, cheat, swindle ; be a 
forger, a counterfeiter, a highwayman. Or, if you despise 



22 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 



being a vulgar villian, be a genteel one. Get into some lu- 
crative office, no matter what, or how; never trouble your- 
self about discharging its duties beyond what is unavoid- 
able ; neither be scrupulous about accounting for all that 
you receive, — that is the concern of your employers. If 
ejected at length for abuse of trust, be sure to get all you 
can. If that be not sufficint, resolve at least to " die 
game gamble, drink, quarrel, kill your man like a hero, 
or be killed yourself; as to consequences, you have nothing 
to fear after death, — hell is all a bugbear, — heaven a dream, 
— death an eternal sleep, — religion superstition, — and of all 
superstitions, that of the Bible is the worst. 

Do you say, hold! this is too horrible. I know it is, 
most horrible. But it is a most horrible reality. All this 
is but selfishness fully acted out. All this is the natural, 
and alas, too frequently the actual consequence of the dia- 
bolical principle: it is better to receive, than to give. How 
many thousands has jt landed in irreligion, libertinism, 
atheism? All these forms and more, selfishness assumes; 
to all these tremendous results it necessarily tends ; and, 
however kept under check and restraint by the benignant 
providence of God, still every desire, every thought, that 
springs from this odious principle, has essentially the same 
hateful and abominable character. O how can we expect 
the church to prosper ; how can the world be made happy ; 
how can we hope for the approbation of conscience, the es- 
teem of virtuous beings, or the blessing of a holy God, till 
we from the heart abjure all the specious and glozing max- 
ims of selfishness, and mourn in brokenness of spirit that 
the time past of out life has been so much under their ac- 
cursed and withering dominion. 

II. Let us now reverse the scene, and contemplate the 
operation and effects of christian benevolence, as enjoined 
in the words of the Lord Jesus. How bright, how pure, 
how exhilarating the contrast! a contrast that must forever 
magnify the power and riches of God's regenerating grace. 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto 
good works. This change of heart, this radical reformation 
of the soul, dethroning selfishness, and enthroning the love 
of God as the ruling disposition there, lays the true and last- 
ing foundation of christian benevolence. He who becomes 
a happy giver on christian principles, is first a happy re- 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 23 



ceiver. Profoundly conscious of this, his love is clothed 
with humility. Remembering his past condition, his pres- 
ent infirmities, his utter unworthiness in the sight of God, 
he is prepared to feel the force of the exhortation : Let no- 
thing be dene through strife or vain glory ; but in lowli- 
ness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 
Yet look at this man, who with sincere, though distant 
steps, is following the example of the Lord Jesus in going 
about doing good, and tell me if he has not caught some- 
thing of the spirit of a purer and better world. 

Observe his faith. He takes his position at the foot of the 
cross. There he beholds Him, who, though he was rich, for 
our sakes became poor ; that through his poverty we might 
become rich. There his faith moulds his soul to pity. Ob- 
serve his gratitude. Hear him saying : What shall I render 
unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me ? Thus his 
very gratitude turns into prayer. Mark his conscientiousness. 
I am a steward, he says, of the manifold grace of God, and 
it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful. His 
faith, love, humility, gratitude, pity, prayerfulness, conscien- 
tiousness, all prepare him to be a worker together with God, 
in the great work of doing good. His work and his example 
are before him. Conscious that his opportunity is the only 
limit of his obligation, he lays himself out to do good unto 
all men, and especially to the household of faith. His heart 
set on this great object, and stimulated by the sweet and 
affecting motives of the gospel, teems spontaneously with 
desires and plans of christian usefulness, and his hands toil 
with delight in the execution of his benevolent purposes. 
His field of usefulness is wide as the world, and he only re- 
grets that his means are not as extensive as its miseries. We 
are not without facts, my brethren, to justify this representa- 
tion. You, yourselves, in your best moments, have realized 
what I now speak; it is the experience of some of you 
which I describe; far as you yet are from the glorious 
standard of perfection, after which you aspire and press. 
Let us now trace the beautiful operation of these benevo- 
lent principles upon the christian character, and then see if 
it is not truly, more blessed to give, than to receive. 

Adopting and acting upon this great maxim of Christ, 
you will set a proper value upon personal industry. You 
will prize and practice productive labor, both of the body 



24 The Christian Theory 6/ Social Happiness. 



and of the mind, as the means of multiplying the common 
stock of wealth, wisdom, and happiness; enabling you thus 
to give to him that needeth, as well as to provide things 
honest in the sight of all men. Your heart, head, hands, 
voice, pen, and influence, will be all appropriately and dili- 
gently employed. Time will be precious. The day that 
has been passed without doing any good to others, you will, 
with far more reason than the emperor Titus, account a lost 
day. Health will be precious ; and for this end you will 
seek to preserve and invigorate it. Your moments of re- 
laxation from labor, your social enjoyments, your gushes of 
domestic tenderness and endearment, your play of buoyant 
wit and brilliant fancy, your very overflowings of innocent 
and irrepiessible mirth, will all be chastened, regulated, sanc- 
tified, by continual reference to this end. 

You will practice also a wise and generous economy. In 
order to be liberal to others, you will retrench selfish super- 
fluities. You will aim to merge private in public interest. 
You will study simplicity, rather than splendor. You will 
husband valuable resources. You will make a prudent se- 
lection of the channels in which the streams of your bounty 
shall flow out to bless the world. In the use of money, 
your principle will be, never to decline any obvious call of 
Providence; but as a faithful steward, to use it so as to do 
the greatest possible good with the limited means entrusted 
to your management. 

With the same view you will, as much as possible, reduce 
all your affairs to system. You will study order in your 
business, and method in your charities. You will remem- 
ber that God has made every thing beautiful in its season, — 
that there must be a time to gain, as well as a time to give. 
You will recollect that God is not the author of confusion, 
but of peace ; and that order gives completeness, clearness, 
dispatch, harmony, and beauty. You will not forget that 
the great plans of christian benevolence make up a vast and 
gloiious system ; all the parts of which require to be regu- 
larly supported, to accomplish their ends of mercy in the 
salvation of a lost world. You will not forget that an order 
was given to the apostolic churches, to give an uniform ac- 
tion to their christian benevolence, — making their sweet sac- 
rifices of love as regular as the return of the christian Sab- 
bath, and ever increasing their amount in grateful proportion 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 25 

as the Lord in his providence should prosper them. I know 
no finer example of this in modern times, than the late ex- 
cellent Nathaniel R. Cobb, of Boston, a member of the 
Baptist church in Charles street, under the care of Dr. 
Sharp. With him, this was a matter of solemn covenant 
with God 5 and God so prospered his faithful servant, that in 
the short span of fifteen years' business as a merchant, con- 
ducted with the most exemplary integrity and honor, he 
earned and gave away (besides an ample provision for his 
family,) more than $40,000, to promote the cause of Christ. 

Acting upon this great christian maxim, your mind will 
become accustomed to self-denial. You cannot advance a 
step in your generous enterprise, without crucifying sloth and 
selfishness. This daily cross you will take up in the strength 
of Christ, that you may daily follow him. Like Paul, you 
will learn to keep under the body, and bring it into subjec- 
tion to your great end. Even your vagrant thoughts will be 
arrested, and brought into sweet captivity to the work of 
Christ. Your meat and drink will be to do the will of him 
who sent you forth on your great errand of usefulness. 

I need hardly add that the principles of christian equity, 
will, by force of this great maxim, strike their deep roots 
yet deeper in your soul. You will deeply feel, what so 
many seem to forget, that to do good to others, you must 
begin by fully conceding to them the same rights which you 
claim for yourself, as a man, as a citizen, and as a christian. 
To wrong otheis in the least degree, by the violation of jus- 
tice or truth, in thought, word, or deed, would defeat your 
very object. To be generous, you must first be just. Love 
worketh no ill to his neighbor ; therefore love is the fulfill- 
ing of the law. 

Your mind, by following out this comprehensive maxim, 
will gradually form the noblest habits of candor and meek- 
ness. Habitually seeking to mitigate the miseries and mul- 
tiply the happiness of all your fellow men, you will despise 
none below you ; you will envy none above you. You will 
speak evil of no man ; you will think evil of no man. 
Your clear eye, will not, through the blinding beam of pre- 
judice, magnify motes into impassable mountains. It will 
be as open to virtues as to faults ; rejoicing not in iniquity, 
but rejoicing in the truth. On every excellence of charac- 
ter in others you will dwell with pleasure and thankfulness ; 



26 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 

every defect that darkens its brightness and disfigures ils 
beauty, you will seek, by sympathizing prayer, and tender 
fidelity in secret, to remove. And O the rapture of the 
thought. If he hear thee, thow hast gained thy brother ! 
When opposed in your benevolent designs, and even when 
suffering the greatest provocations of insult and injury, you 
will remember that charity suffereth long and is kind. You 
will think of him, who, when he was reviled, reviled not 
again. You will commit your cause to God. You will be 
superior to the meanness and selfishness of revenge. You 
will nobly pity and pray for your worst enemies ; and win 
that grandest of all victories, the conquest of evil passions in 
yourself and others, through the might of the Lamb of God. 
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 

A divine complacency, peace and joy, will thus be shed 
abroad in your heart. Be it so that you cannot command 
success in executing the best designs. You still have con- 
solations which are superior to all contingencies; you have 
the testimony of a good conscience; you have a refuge in 
prayer ; the sweetness of kind affections is still as an oil of 
gladness in your heart; the Spirit of God beareth witness 
with your spirit that you are his child. If disappointed in 
your own attempts, you are yet happy in seeing and hearing 
of the good done by others. Let the Lord work by whom 
he will, you can rejoice, and you do rejoice, that the desira- 
ble good is done. But embarked, as you are, in the cause 
of infinite goodness, you cannot always be disappointed in 
your own exertions. The God of love and peace will be 
with you. He will bless you and make you a blessing. 
At his word obstacles unexpectedly give way. Even your 
temporary trials shall be for your good. Your very failures 
shall teach you caution. They shall work humility, patience, 
diligence, prayer. They shall thus bring you nearer to 
God, and his love shall breathe into your soul new ardor, 
confidence and hope. Every holy purpose shall be refresh- 
ed, and the wisdom profitable to direct, shall be richly be- 
stowed at your request, by him who giveth to all men liber- 
ally, and upbraideth not. 

Thus, almost of necessity, your mind will become active 
and original. I use these terms in the best sense. The 
liberality of mere impulse may not be coupled with know- 
ledge; but it is always, and increasingly so, with the liber- 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 27 

ality of principle. This latter cannot thrive without great 
efforts of thought, reflection, contrivance. As a great degree 
of selfishness will make even a fool cunning; so a great de- 
gree of benevolence will make a wise man still wiser. It 
will invent new methods of doing good. It led John How- 
ard to explore, purify, and reform ail the prisons of Europe. 
It impelled Andrew Fuller to invite and persuade the whole 
christian world to unite in a monthly concert of prayer for 
the success of the gospel ; William Carey to offer himself as 
the first English missionary to India, and to execute trans- 
lations of the Scriptures on a scale unparalelied before in the 
history of the church ; William Fox to propose the first so- 
ciety for the support and universal diffusion of Sunday 
schools ; Joseph Hughes to suggest and organize the first 
great society for the spread of the Bible throughout the 
whole world. It moved our own Judson to take that first 
decisive measure which aroused American christians of every 
denomination to the great work of evangelizing the too long 
neglected heathen; and to give himself the first and bright- 
est example of American missionary self-sacrifice. The 
spirit of which I speak, will not be satisfied to do no more 
than others do. It will work not only in public, but in pri- 
vate; not only with others, but if need be alone and in ad- 
vance. It will not only be steadfast and immoveable, but 
always abounding in the work of the Lord. As the politi- 
cal economist contrives for the advancement of his country; 
as the public spirited citizen contrives for the improvement 
of the town ; as the affectionate parent contrives for the wel- 
fare of his family; so will you, my christian brother, con- 
trive for the advancement of the cause of Christ. As the 
merchant exports large quantities of his goods, to secure a 
richer return; as the farmer sows a portion of his grain in the 
spring, to reap a richer abundance in autumn; as the enter- 
prising get subscriptions for canals, rail-roads, and factories, 
for the sake of gainful investments in the things that perish ; 
so will you search out the best investments for your means of 
doing good. The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by lib- 
eral things he shall stand. 

And here permit me to observe that the disposition, which 
in relation to the movements of christian benevolence, is 
constantly suspicious of doing too much, and of going too 
far beyond the measure of our fathers, is a spirit of an ill 



28 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 

omen. Such a spirit, my brethren, instead of carrying the 
church of God forward into the promised brightness of the 
last days, — when the light of the moon shall be as the light 
of the sun, and the light of the sun, sevenfold, — would not 
even raise her up from her present state of darkness and de- 
clension. It is not the spirit of Elijah, or John the Baptist, 
or Paul, or Luther, or Menno, or Roger Williams. It is 
not the spirit of Christ. It is not the spirit of one who feels 
that it is more blessed to give, than to receive. It may at- 
tempt to hide itself behind the cover of the Bible ; but its 
anti-mission hiss betrays the serpent fang of selfishness. It 
may array itself in the garb of orthodoxy ; but in kicking 
at the cause of temperance, it reveals the cloven hoof of anti- 
nomian heresy. And yet these wretched misguided men 
glory in the name of " primitive Baptists." Tell it not in 
Gath ! My brethren, how is it possible for a true Baptist, a 
genuine believer in the primitive doctrine of grace, to cher- 
ish a disposition so utterly at war with its whole spirit and 
tendency? How is it possible, I say, when the whole plan 
of our redemption, from first to last, from the foundation to 
the topstone, is one stupendous contrivance of disinterested 
divine love, — without a precedent and without a parallel ! 

I know indeed it has sometimes been insinuated from a 
different quarter, that a belief in our free election of God, and 
its kindred truths, tends to paralize the energies of christian 
benevolence. Much as we respect the love of these good 
brethren, we must be permitted to marvel at their logic. As 
if a cordial belief in the most amazing overflow of mercy 
in the universe, should tend to shut the heart against the sen- 
timents of mercy ! No ; rather, as all facts and experience 
will testify, this very belief is adapted to dissolve all the 
frost of selfishness within us; and to rouse up every faculty 
of the soul to that godlike beneficence, which is the best re- 
turn we can make to God for his transcendent kindness to- 
wards us. Such was the doctrine of St. Paul. Put on, 
therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of 
mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long 
suffering. 

Once more. The full operation of this benevolent prin- 
ciple, will raise you to real greatness in the kingdom of 
God. 

Why docs a benevolent and holy enthusiasm kindle at the 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 29 

names of Howard and Hughes, of Fox and Fuller, of Carey 
and Judson ? It is not that their talents were originally so 
much superior to others, but that they applied them more 
sacredly to beneficent purposes; that they lived not for 
themselves, but for the good of others and the glory of 
Christ. If the secret of their moral greatness were whisper- 
ed from heaven in our ear, it would be this, — they remem- 
bered the words of the Lord Jesus, which you have forgot- 
ten : it is more blessed to give, than to receive. 

Do I wish then to infuse ambition into the hearts of 
christians? Would I have them all aspire to greatness? I 
would. But the design, you say at once, is altogether vis- 
ionary — not to say suspicious. Not at all, my brethren, if 
understood according to the christian definition of the term. 
Greatness, in the worldly sense, is doubtless out of the reach 
of most us, and it is happy for us that it is. Great talents, 
great fortunes, great intellectual attainments, are the lot of 
few; great stations, and great celebrity, the lot of fewer still. 
But is there no greatness except that which is surrounded by 
the blazonry of this world? Yes, my brethren, another and 
a nobler order is opened to us all, by the goodness of our 
God. It is nothing impracticable, absurd, impossible, de- 
ceptive, perishable. No; many have already attained it ; 
many more are yet to attain it, — perhaps all in that bright- 
er age which is just at hand. I mean that true greatness, 
which holy disinterested love will confer upon you in the 
esteem of God and all good beings. I mean that true great- 
ness which was exemplified by the meekest and loveliest 
One that ever trod this earth; and by him urged upon all his 
followers : Whosoever will be great among you, let him be 
your minister, and whosoever will be chief among you, let 
him be your servant ; even as the Son of man came not to 
be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a 
ransom for many. 

Do you say that you feel nothing of such an ambition, — 
that if this be all the elevation we offer you, you are content 
to be a christian of a less lofty standard ? Craven spirit! Is 
it true or false humility, that is content to be little here, — 
that loves low degrees of excellence, — that shrinks from the 
bright example of the Saviour, — that would debase the 
standard of christian duty, — that would in effect deny an 
obligation expressly enjoined in the word of God, and indis- 



30 7Vie Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 



pensable to any great advancement of his cause on earth? 
For what great object was ever accomplished under heaven, 
without great risks, sacrifices, and exertions? Hereby per- 
ceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for 
us ; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 
Yes; hear it christians; let unbelief, under the imposing 
names of philosophy or prudence, say what it will, — let cor- 
rupt nature within our own hearts, with its thousand soft 
and specious tongues, plead the contrary as strongly as it 
may, — it is still an everlasting truth, that christian love is 
not selfish. The character which our Bible gives of charity 
is, that she seeketh not her own ; and if that charity reign 
not in our bosoms, whatever in the sight of men may be our 
pretensions to the christian name, in the purer eyes of him 
who looketh on the heart, we are nothing. 

"Nor tongues, nor faith, nor fiery zeal, 
The work of love can e'er fulfill." 

Having now finished the illustration of the great principle 
of the text, — the principle of christian benevolence, as op- 
posed to selfishness, — permit two or three words by way of 
application : 

1. This subject is profitable for reproof. 

The human heart is a world of passions. But if the love 
of doing good do not predominate over every desire of per- 
sonal enjoyment, certain it is that there is something wrong 
within, — something very unlike Jesus Christ. For be it so, 
that personal enjoyment in some form or other, is the sum- 
mit of desire with unregenerate men, — conceding that with 
such their own worldly, or possibly on self-righteous princi- 
ples, their future happiness is systematically regarded as their 
being's end and aim, — is it, therefore, such with those who 
have been renewed after the image of the God of love, in whom 
old things have passed away, and all things have become new ? 
How then could the apostle John (as he does) make that 
love which seeketh not her own, the decisive evidence 
of regeneration ? Beloved, let us love one another; for love 
is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and 
knoweth God. 

If then, brethren, the possession of this love and its pre- 
valence within us, be the sole criterion of genuine piety, — 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 31 



and if all in whom it reigns, feel it more blessed to give 
than to receive, — let us carefully cultivate, and habitually 
exercise it, — or let us cease to call ourselves christians. 
What does our baptism amount to, if we are not baptized 
into this spirit? Why should the temper of Belial reign in 
the church of Christ? If any man defile the temple of 
God, says St. Paul, him shall God destroy ; for the temple 
of God is holy ; which temple ye are. Who will dare then 
to pollute it with covetousness? Do we provoke the Lord 
to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 

2. This subject is profitable for correction. 

If the spirit of benevolence be so essential to Christianity, 
how comes it to pass that in daily practice, we are no more 
under its blight and cheering influence ? Evidently, in part, 
my brethren, because we are influenced so much by the old 
habit of thinking and acting like the rest of the world, who 
have their portion in this life. And still more, because after 
all that God has done for us and in us, there yet remain so 
many of the poisonous dregs of selfishness at the bottom of 
our hearts, — sometimes swelling and scorching our bosoms 
with pride, anger and envy, — sometimes kindling them 
fiercely with sensual desires, — sometimes chilling them 
with avarice, aversion, or fear, — sometimes petrifying them 
into a profound indifference to the claims, wants, and woes 
of our perishing fellow-men. It is but here and there, you 
find a christian's spirit in a healthy and vigorous state. It 
is but here and there, you find a christian church in a flour- 
ishing and piosperous condition. The family, the neighbor- 
hood, the nation, are not what they should be, and might be. 
Complaints abound in every circle; some complaining of 
others; some, though fewer, of themselves. All feel the 
disorder of society ; but few seem to know the cause, and 
fewer still, the remedy. Almost all of us have yet to learn 
what that meaneth : It is more blessed to give, than to re- 
ceive. This is the sole remedy, the true catholicon, the sove- 
reign panacea. 

Finally. This subject is profitable for instruction in right- 
eousness. 

Understand and remember the words of the Lord Jesus. 
The highest happiness you can feel as social beings, is con- 
nected with the discharge of your highest social duty; — it is 
inseparable from humble, voluntary, self-denying efforts to 



32 77te Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 

do good. The best condition you could be in on earth, is 
not that of receiving, but of communicating benefits. Such 
is the christian theory of social happiness. 

Do not imagine, my dear brethren, that it is merely a 
beautiful theory, — to be admired in the abstract, but as a 
principle of conduct more fit for angels than for men. I ad- 
mit that it is fit for angels; and that in every one of those 
holy beings who are sent forth to minister for the heirs of 
salvation, it is unceasingly and brightly exemplified. But I 
must deny that it is fit for them only. On the contrary, I 
affirm that it is as proper for men as for angels ; and that the 
will of God will never be done on earth as it is in heaven, 
till this principle becomes the ruling principle of all human 
conduct. Par from being restricted in its application to the rich, 
it is as a practical principle specially adapted to the condition of 
of the poor. It allows no class to live solely on the labor of others; 
but commands all to contribute liberally by their own labors, 
either of body or mind, to the common good. It is a prin- 
ciple binding on every christian, male and female, old and 
young, in every condition of life, at all times, and in all cir- 
cumstances. It is a principle absolutely indispensable to the 
happiness of every human society; universally true; uni- 
versally applicable; universally binding; for (as the apostle 
James testifies,) to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth 
it not, to him it is sin. 

I repeat it, that you may never forget it. This is the fun- 
damental principle on which all the business of human life 
should be transacted. Christian benevolence, not selfish- 
ness, should rule the world. It should govern every family, 
every church, every community, and State, and nation. It 
would calm domestic discord in a moment; heal all the 
wounds of Zion; close the war in Mexico, and foreclose 
war with England. It should govern every ruler and every 
citizen ; every master and every servant ; every parent and 
every child ; every minister and every member of the church. 
It should exert a controlling influence over all our reading, 
all our thinking, all our studies, all our conversation, all our 
prayers, all our deportment, all our amusements, all our 
employments. Not a plan ought to be contrived; not a con- 
tract made ; not an article bought or sold ; not a gift bestow- 
ed or received ; not a cent earned, laid up, or expended ; but 
with our Saviour's all-comprehensive maxim before our eyes, 



The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 33 

or at least warming and guiding every pulsation of our hearts : 
It is more blessed to give, than to receive. On this princi- 
ple every church should be constituted ; every house of 
worship erected; every minister settled; every deacon ordain- 
ed ; every member admitted ; every duty discharged ; — nor 
should any one think of joining a church, much less of be- 
coming a pastor, without remembering the words of the Lord 
Jesus, and resolving, through divine grace, to contribute all in 
his power to the common good, whatever be the conduct of 
others toward him. In this generous spirit, Paul said to the 
Corinthians, I will very gladly spend and be spent for you ; 
though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be 
loved. 

My brethren, my dear brethren, this is the generous spirit 
the whole church needs to day. The whole world needs it. 
Till it comes into exercise there is no hope. Through no 
other agency will God work salvation in the earth. We 
have tried other methods, and proved them vain. Let us 
now try this method of the Lord Jesus. It has in it inex- 
haustible energies, inexhaustible resources. It will open 
new views; it will breathe fresh hopes; it will devise and 
execute the most noble and liberal things. It is a common 
saying, that necessity is the mother of invention. My breth- 
ren, necessity is here. Look around you and see how 
much must be done, and ought to be done, for the temporal 
and eternal happiness of our fellow-men, or they must come 
short of the best good of both earth and heaven : and then 
tell me if I do not speak the truth when I say, necessity is 
here, — the keenest, the deepest, the most distressing, that 
ever touched and pierced the soul, — the everlasting, the 
awful necessity, which moved the Son of God from his hea- 
venly throne, to become the Saviour of lost men. O hear 
in your touched hearts to-day, the speechless cry of that ne- 
cessity, and let it stir up all your love! It calls you this 
day to multiply your efforts, your offerings, and your prayers, 
to save souls fiom death, — souls now within your reach, — 
to-morrow, perhaps, in eternity, — perhaps in that place of 
torment, where no prayers, no tears, no efforts, can possibly 
avail. Listen ! listen! Do you comprehend it now? It is 
a call to save souls from death ! But it is more. It sum- 
mons you forth to win for your Saviour a seed to serve him, 
— for yourselves, companions in your march to glory, — for 



34 The Christian Theory of Social Happiness. 

heaven, partakers of its immortal bliss, — for earth, a new 
race of regenerated sons, who shall build up the waste places 
of many geneiations, and make her wilderness as Eden, her 
desert as the garden of the Lord. O turn not away from the 
thrilling, glorious, pressing call ! It is a call to multiply your 
own happiness, in seeking that of others. As the Lord is 
true, it will multiply it an hundred fold ! Fear not to em- 
bark your all in this glorious enterprise, — when God himself 
goes before you, and holy angels attend you, and the good 
of earth will follow you, and success is certain, and the re- 
ward is sure. Pear not to devise liberal things in a cause 
like this, for by liberal things you shall stand. Remember 
the words of the Lord Jesus how he said : It is more blessed 
to give, than to receive. 

Messengers of the churches, ministers of Christ, beloved 
and honored brethren, suffer the word of exhortion. Permit 
me to remind you of our present privileges, in this Associa- 
tion. What precious opportunities of usefulness are here! 
Are we all properly awake to them ? All may do good here ; 
by your christian spirit and deportment; by your counsels 
and your prayers; by your enlarged sympathies, and devices 
of liberality ; by your generous resolutions and contributions; 
by kind words fitly spoken, — like apples of gold in pictures 
of silver, — in the pulpit, and in the pew, — in the house, and 
by the way. Let every spirit rise to meet the occasion! Let 
every bosom swell with the vital tide of charity! Let every 
heart breathe forth perpetual silent prayer to heaven, for direc- 
tion and aid! Let every mind be fixed to seize the winged 
moments of irrecoverable opportunity! Nor let the heavenly 
ardor be limited to age or sex. O let it be said of every indi- 
vidual here to-day, as it was said of the grateful Mary, when 
she poured the precious ointment of delicious odors on her 
Saviour's head : She hath done what she could ! Then, in 
a different indeed, but still nobler sense, shall the whole at- 
mosphere be filled with the odor of the ointment, and its 
sweet fragrance rise upward to refresh the spirits of the just 
made perfect, the innumerable company of angels, and the 
throne of God. May God add his blessing. Amen. 



THE PULPIT : INCIDENTALLY. 

It is one of the weaknesses of our nature, in our fallen 
condition, that we suffer ourselves, controlled by minor mo- 
tives, while we perseveringly and successfully resist the 
greater. To restore its health, or to save its life, the child 
obstinately refuses the simplest prescription of the physician 
offered in the name of medicine ; but cheerfully submits to 
the most nauseous draught for the compensation of an orange 
or a penny. 

On the same principle, for one man who goes to the house 
of God, for the purpose of being" converted and saved, thou- 
sands frequent it either because others go, or at most to be 
instructed or innocently amused. The attractions of public 
worship, independently of its bearing on the moral and ever- 
lasting interests of mankind, are confessedly great. There 
is the excitement of the crowd by the recognition of known 
faces and the appearance of strange ones. In the country 
there are the passing and the re-passing of vehicles, and the 
courtesies of belles and beaux, in connection with the an- 
tique walls and pews of the old parish church, or it may be 
a spacious and handsome edifice of more modern style and 
finish. In the city there is the chiming of the bells, the 
chanting of the choir, and the elegantly dressed throng mov- 
ing in every direction to and from the places of meeting : 
some absorbed in deep contemplation, some raising their de- 
vout aspirations to God, some wearing the aspect of the most 
fixed purpose, but the great mass in all the gayety of child- 
hood and the buoyancy of youth. 

But most of all, is the pulpit, the point to which all 
eyes are directed, the source from which all minds and all 
dispositions are to be either profited or pleased. And well 
may it be so. Here are concentrated, learning, knowledge, 
history, philosophy, taste, logic, oratory, criticism, poetry, 
every thing that can delight the imagination, improve the 
understanding, awaken the curiosity, or warm and rouse 
the heart. All this is repeated, once, twice or thrice every 
Lord's day in the year, and not unfrequentiy at night in the 
week, to which must be added the variety of genius and tal- 
ents with which the pulpit is adorned in every part of our 
land. 



36 



The Pulpit : Incidentally. 



To that portion of our communities not religious, in the 
sense in which we always use this word, we doubt not the 
attractions of the Lord's day, are greater, a thousand fold, 
than to the populace of any nation in Europe, are all their 
public amusements, not excepting even the theatre and the 
opera. We are glad that these attractions are so great, and 
that the affinity of the populace for them is so great ; and 
we wish they were greater still. It is better to go to the 
house of God, even to be amused, than to remain at home 
to settle accounts, to read novels, to sleep, to be visited by 
friends, or to arrange business for the ensuing week. Some, 
among these listening multitudes, will be wakened by the 
thunders of Sinai; here and there a Zaccheus will be called 
from his elevated point of observation ; many a winged ar- 
row may find its way to the hearts of the King's enemies. 
When so many shots are flying and falling in every direc- 
tion, it is impossible to suppose that they all will be in- 
effectual. 

There is, however, one aspect of the case which is deeply 
appalling. It is that privileges so great, slighted and unim- 
proved, must bring with them an aggravated weight of con- 
demnation. While it is better to visit the sanctuary, even to 
be amused, than not to go at all, the very suggestion that 
souls are sporting on the road to perdition, is shocking in the 
highest degree. 

We have room only to answer one objection to all this, 
and to make one practical inference. To the objector who 
alledges, that if the rejection of the gospel increases the con- 
demnation of the rejecter, it is better to evade the offer, we 
reply, this would be to elude also every sort of advantage 
and privilege. It were better then not to know how to read, 
if one refuses to abide by the oracles of God, because such 
refusal must meet the corresponding penalty. If this prin- 
ciple were just, we might wisely and innocently deprive our- 
selves of the exercise of our rational faculties, and of our 
very senses. The organ of hearing, increases our responsi- 
bility to God, — but who argues that we hence have a right 
to destroy or injure it. To the christian, and especially to 
the christian minister, we would say, see what an instrumen- 
tality you possess for plucking brands from the everlasting 
fires. " Let him know that he who converteth a sinner from 
the error of his way shall save a soul from death." — [Editor. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 

New Series. March, 1847. No, 3. 



THE PERFECTION OF REVEALED TRUTH; 

AND ITS ADAPTATION TO CONVERT THE SOUL : 

A Sermon preached by Rev. J. J. James, at the 9th Anniversary of the 
North Carolina (Baptist) Bible Society, met in Raleigh, Oct. 20th, 1845, 
simultaneously with the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. 

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. — Psalm xix: 7." 

The Bible contains a complete system of revealed truth. 
God is its author; and it makes known his will concerning 
us, as his creatures. It opens to us a plan of salvation ; and 
proposes to recover in man the lost image of his Maker, and 
to restore that bond of union between them which has been 
rent by sin. Its adaptedness to do this, forms one of its most 
distinguishing characteristics. 

The conversion or restoration of the soul to the enjoyment 
of God, is a subject the most important to us of any that the 
human mind can conceive. The want of holiness and hap- 
piness in man is universally felt. His depravity and wretch- 
edness are equally apparent. Nature cries out and testifies 
to his guilt, and in consequence of it "the whole creation 
groaneth and travaileth together in pain." The testimony 
of man's sin and misery is universal; but a remedy for it 
can be found only in the Bible. Hence the value of the 
Bible as a system of revealed truth, designed by infinite wis- 
dom for the conversion or restoration of the soul. 

David, contrasting the comparative value of natural and 
revealed truth, says of the latter in the words of the text, 
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." 
That he means, by "the law of the Lord," God's written 
word, is plainly indicated in the context. We therefore pro- 
ceed directly to deduce from the text and its connection the 
following theme, which we propose as the subject of the pre- 



38 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



sent discourse: The perfection of revealed truth; and its 
adaptation to convert the soul. 

In (his discussion we propose to shew — 

I. The superior light which revelation gives us above na- 
ture and reason. 

II. The adaptation of revealed truth to the great end pro- 
posed — the soul's conversion. 

In explication of this subject we remark, that nature and 
revelation are the two great sources of human knowledge. 
From these we derive all our knowledge of the past, the 
present and the future. They are the only volumes from 
which God instructs us. In comparing them together, we 
do not wish to be understood as depreciating the value of the 
one, in our endeavors to exhibit the superior excellency of 
the other; but rather that we constantly recognize the same 
Being in him whose glories " the heavens declare," and in 
him who reveals himself in his word, in a brighter and more 
perfect light. The superior light which revelation gives us 
above that of nature and reason, will appear if we consider — 

1. The assistance which the Bible gives us in understand- 
ing, at least with some degree of satisfaction, subjects other- 
wise incomprehensible. 

The first we select is the divine attributes. When the 
disciple of nature looks forth upon (he creation, and beholds 
its order and symmetry; when he observes the admirable uni- 
formity which appears in the regular succession of the sea- 
sons; the constant rotation of day and night; the flux and 
re-flux of the sea; and the exact motions of the heavenly 
bodies; when he surveys the regularity which seems to per- 
vade the whole malerial universe; he concludes that its 
author is a Being of infinite wisdom and power. But when 
he is frightened by tempests and tornadoes, by earthquakes 
and pestilences; when these wild phenomena seem to threat- 
en the stability of nature, he is puzzled, and imagines that 
he sees some traces of imperfection among so many proofs of 
creative wisdom and power. 

Again, when he thinks of God's having enriched the earth 
with innumerable productions for the benefit of man; of his 
having placed him here as a sovereign in a palace; of the 
construction given to the various parts of creation, in adapt- 
ing them to the nature of man : as air to the lungs, aliments 
to the different portions of the body, light to the eyes, and 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



39 



sounds to the ears; and when he considers how God has 
connected man with his species, placing each in a state of 
dependence upon others, uniting them by visible ties, so as 
to induce among mankind one great brotherhood; when the 
disciple of nature meditates on these things, he concludes 
that the author of nature is a beneficent Being. But when 
he beholds the innumerable evils with which the human 
race are afflicted; when he observes that the very same things 
that contribute to sustain human life, contribute also to its 
extinction; that the air which is necessary for respiration, 
conveys diseases; that the food which nourishes the body 
often becomes its poison; that the animals that serve man 
often turn ferocious against him; and when he considers the 
perfidiousness of society; the mutual labors of mankind in 
tormenting and destroying each other; together with the nu- 
merous maladies which attack the human system from the 
cradle to the grave; and finally contemplates death, which 
bows the loftiest head, and rends asunder the strongest ties ; 
he is led to doubt whether it be goodness or the opposite, 
which has inclined the author of nature to give to man his 
existence. " 

Again, when the disciple of nature sees tyrants fall from 
their heights of tyranny, and wicked men punished by their 
own wickedness; the avaricious by the objects of his avarice; 
the ambitious by those of his ambition; the voluptuous by 
those of his voluptuousness; when he perceives that virtue 
is so essential to public happiness, and that even individuals 
are more or less happy, according as they adhere more or less 
closely to its rules; when the disciple of nature reflects on 
these things, he is led to conclude that the Great Ruler of 
man is a just and holy Being. But when he looks again, 
and beholds tyranny established, and vice enthroned; humil- 
ity in confusion, and pride wearing a crown; that the love 
of holiness in men exposes them to great and intolerable ca- 
lamities; he is not able to vindicate the justice and equity of 
God. 

Thus we see that nature fails to instruct her disciples 
thoroughly and satisfactorily, on the great subject of the di- 
vine attributes. She gives them light, but it is mingled 
with darkness. But of these grand mysteries can one be 
proposed that the Bible does not explain? Is there one on 
which the sacred scriptures do not give us some intelligible 



40 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



principle, by which it can be reconciled with the perfections 
of the Creator? Do the disorders of the world perplex the 
disciple of nature? The student of the Bible can readi- 
ly see how they can comport with the divine wisdom. He 
has only to call to mind what the sacred volume teaches 
him: that they are permitted because man in his sin and re- 
bellion is now the object of the divine displeasure; and be- 
cause the world is not what it was when it came from the 
hand of its Creator; but that when compared with its former 
state, it is only a heap of ruins; the truly magnificent, but 
actually ruinous heap of an edifice of incomparable beauty. 
With these teachings who can urge any just objections against 
the wisdom of the Creator, in permitting the disorders of the 
world? 

Do the miseries of man, and the fatal necessity of dying, 
puzzle the disciple of nature in regard to the goodness of 
God? The disciple of revealed religion has no difficulty 
here : he has been taught to know, that the afflictions of 
good men are profitable to them, while prosperity would 
prove injurious; that "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, 
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," and that this 
chastening afterward yields the peaceable fruits of righteous- 
ness unto them which are exercised thereby. He is taught 
also, that this life is only a transitory state, which will be 
succeeded by one which is permanent and eternal. With 
these and many similar instructions from the Bible, he finds 
no just complaint against the goodness of God, from the 
miseries of human life, and the necessity of dying. 

And finally: Do the prosperity of wicked men, and the 
adversities of good men, lead the disciple of nature to im- 
peach the divine justice? In this, too, the disciple of revela- 
tion sees that the counsel of God is fulfilled. He has learned 
that the prosperity even of Pharaohs, of Herods, and of Pi- 
lates, has largely contributed to the establishment of that 
very religion which they meant to destroy; while the adver- 
sities of good men have been so overruled, as equally to ad- 
vance the same cause, and promote their present and eternal 
welfare. 

In regard then to the first topic, the proper understanding 
of the attributes of God, or the perfections of his nature, we 
see that revelation gives us light, which is far superior to that 
of nature. 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 41 



Another subject, which deserves to be considered here, 
both from its intrinsic importance and on account of the 
light which is shed upon it from the Bible, is that of the 
soul's immortality. 

Is the soul immortal? This was the great problem which 
agitated for ages (he minds of heathen philosopheis, and to 
establish which they exerted their utmost powers. To settle 
this question many of them spent the best portion of their 
lives in patient and laborious study. They piobed into the 
secrets of nature with the most careful research, and drew 
from all her accessible sources whatever might tend to eluci- 
date the subject. But after all their labors, the light which 
they received from nature and reason was still unsatisfactory. 
They were left somewhat in darkness and in doubt. Many 
pious heamcn endeavored to believe in the soul's immortali- 
ty, and sometimes professed to do so; as did also some of 
their philosophers; but some of the wisest of these ofien 
doubted their own reasonings. To be convinced of this, we 
have only to examine their writings; and not to do more, let 
us listen to the declarations of a few of their most enlight- 
ened reasoners. 

Cicero, (the orator of Rome,) when treating on this sub- 
ject, says, "I do not pretend to say that what I affirm is as 
infallible as the Pythian oracle, I speak only by conjecture." 
Cyrus, in his address to his children, says, "I know not how 
to persuade myself that the soul lives in this mortal body, 
and ceases to be when the body expires. 1 am more in- 
clined to think, that it acquires after death more penetration 
and purity." We hear also the immortal Socrates, (the 
prince of all heathen philosophers,) when taking leave of 
his judges, who had wickedly condemned him to death, say, 
"And now we are going to part, I to suffer death, and you 
to enjoy life. God only knows which has the happier lot." 

Thus we see, that on a subject the most intensely interest- 
ing and deeply important, which poor mortals can contem- 
plate, nature has not satisfactorily taught her most intelligent 
disciples. With the strongest desires to believe in the im- 
mortality of the soul, they have been compelled, in their 
most honest moments, to confess the insufficiency of their 
reasonings. The light which nature gave them did not pen- 
etrate through the dark valley and shadow of death. 

How completely does revelation dissipate all this obscurity. 



42 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



It clearly teaches that the soul is immortal, and that its im- 
mortality is based upon the will of its Creator; that He who 
made it, made it immortal; and that nothing but the same 
almighty power can annihilate or destroy it. Of the numer- 
ous passages which might be quoted from the sacred scrip- 
tures, setting forth the soul's immortality, we select the fol- 
lowing, which we think amply sufficient : "Then shall the 
dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return 
to God who gave it." — Eccl. xii : 7. " Fear not them which 
kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather 
fear him which is able, to destroy both soul and body in hell." 
— Mat. x: 28. "For what is a man profited, if he shall 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul; or what shall a 
man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man 
shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and 
then shall he reward every man according to his works." — 
Mat. xvi: 26-27. " For we that are in this tabernacle do 
groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, 
but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of 
life." "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be 
absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." — 2 
Cor. v: 4, 8. "They stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and 
saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." — Acts vii : 59. "Who 
hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not ac- 
cording to our works, but according to his own purpose and 
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world 
began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our 
Saviour, Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath 
brought life and immortality to light, through the gospel." 
" I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he 
is able to keep that which I have committed to him, against 
that day."— 2 Tim. i : 9, 10, 12. 

Another topic which deserves also to be considered here, is 
that which relates to the reality and nature of future rewards 
and punishments. 

A heathen philosopher, taking for granted the existence of 
a future state, would probably infer from the analogy of 
things around him, that it would be attended with retribu- 
tions. The absolute necessity in this life of punishing vice 
and encouraging virtue, together with the fact that vice often 
inflicts its own punishment, while virtue offers its own re- 
ward, would lead him to the conclusion, that in the future 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 43 



stale, (if there be one,) there would exist a difference be- 
tween the condition of the good and the bad. But in what 
respects and to what extent this difference would obtain, 
would be to him a matter wholly of conjecture. Nature 
gives no certain information in regard to these important 
enquiries. Hence, in the religious systems of idolatrous na- 
tions, there may be found thousands of the most absurd and 
foolish notions, with respect to future rewards and punish- 
ments. No well defined principles of future retribution 
have ever been settled and agreed upon by different heathen 
nations; and as a consequence, there still exists among them, 
on this subject, the greatest diversity of opinion. Their most 
enlightened writers can only furnish hypotheses, founded ou 
vague conjecture and wild invention. 

What thankfulness and gratitude ought we not to feel, my 
hearers, to the Author of the Bible, when we turn from such 
statements as the above to contemplate the clear, grand and 
sublime truths, with which he has furnished us on this im- 
portant subject. We are told in the strongest language, that 
there will be a general judgment; that God "hath appointed 
a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteous- 
ness;" when all the human family, from Adam to his latest 
generation, will be assembled together before him; that he 
will judge them according to the deeds done in the body; 
that the righteous and the wicked will then be perfectly sep- 
arated; the one placed upon the right, and the other upon 
the left hand of the Judge; that Jesus Christ, by whom all 
will be judged, will say to the righteous, "come ye blessed 
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world," and that with holy angels as 
their attendants, they will be thus welcomed to the perfect 
and eternal glories of heaven. Whilst he will say to the 
wicked "depart ye accursed into everlasting fire, prepared for 
the devil and his angels." Thus, while the light of nature 
does not penetrate the darkness of the future; revelation 
gives us a grand and awfully sublime view of the retributions 
of eternity, and of the scenes on which the righteous and the 
wicked will respectively enter. 

2. The superiority of revelation will further appear, if we 
consider the light which it sheds upon some of the most im- 
portant subjects of human enquiry, on which nature and 
reason have entirely failed to instruct us. 



44 Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



We are aware that the truth of this proposition has been 
denied ; and that it has been asserted in the ranks of modern 
infidels, that the Bible has disclosed no new truth; no truth 
which nature had not previously made known. Without 
attempting any other reply to such an assertion, we proceed 
directly to shew, that we are entirely indebted to the Bible 
for some of the most important truths which stand connected 
with our existence. 

The first which we mention is the great and central fact 
of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. That this is purely a 
matter of revelation can be clearly shewn. Nature, indeed, 
discovers to man that he is a sinner, and that sin deserves to 
be punished. This is apparent from the confessions of hea- 
then, and from the fear and remorse with which their con- 
sciences are often excrutialed; it teaches also, that God may 
be induced to listen to the entreaties of his creatures, as their 
numerous prayers go to shew; and it may even go so far as 
to give some idea of the necessity of satisfying divine justice, 
as their various sacrifices seem to indicate; but that it teaches 
nothing certain as to the proper means of propitiating the 
Deity, is clearly proven from the great diversity in the modes 
of propitiation adopted by different idolatrous nations. 
Scarcely any two have adopted the same modes, while the 
same nation not unfrequently introduces changes. Were 
the question propounded to all the benighted nations on 
earth, how can God become reconciled to man? how can 
He maintain his justice, and justify sinners? — no two would 
be likely to give the same answer, and all together could not 
give one which would be satisfactory. By the light of na- 
ture, the sublime mystery of the cross is totally invisible; 
and nothing but a light, as well as a sacrifice, from heaven, 
can open to us the true medium of reconciliation with God. 
This grand discovery, which lays the foundation of all our 
hopes, is most clearly revealed to us in the Bible. We aie 
told that "God is in Chiist, reconciling the world unto him- 
self;" that "the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth 
us from all sin;" and we are invited, by faith to "behold the 
Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," with 
the assurance, that by his death upon the cross he is become 
the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that be- 
lieveth. 

Another truth of no less importance, which is made known 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



45 



to us only in the scriptures, is the divine agency of (he Holy 
Spirit in regenerating and sanctifying the heart. That na- 
ture has not taught this truth, is evident from (he fact that 
all heathen nations discover no knowledge of any such 
agency, and in their systems of religion teach nothing of the 
necessity of being born again. Whatever convictions they 
may have of the corruption of human nature, they know 
nothing of the agency which God has seen fit to employ for 
its purification; and the notion which some heathen enter- 
tain that God is a Great Spirit, bears no resemblance to the 
scriptural doctrine, that the divine Spirit has come into the 
world to convince it of sin, of righteousness, and of judg- 
ment; and to impart to man, holiness of heart and purity of 
desire. 

The last (ruth, to which we can here attend, is that which 
relates to the future history of the human body. What be- 
comes of the body after death? On this question, so often 
propounded by the anxious enquirer, nature and reason have 
been consulted in vain. The light which they give^ only 
extends to the precincts of the grave, and all beyond is utter 
darkness. The most profound philosophers and acute rea- 
soners, the greatest princes and most powerful monarchs, 
have all, upon this subject, to stand upon an equality with 
the most ignorant peasant. None can answer this simple 
question, or solve this obvious mystery. Here the disciple of 
revealed religion meets with a light from heaven, which re- 
lieves at once all his anxiety. It unfolds to him the future 
history of his body. The Bible tells him that it shall not 
forever lie degraded in the dust; but shall be raised from the 
dead; quickened, re-animated, and re-possessed by its proper 
spirit; raised in power, and made a spiritual and glorious 
body. 

We have thus far contemplated the perfection of revealed 
truth, as seen in the superior light which it sheds upon the 
manifestations of nature, and especially in the opening up of 
some impoitant subjects, on which nature and reason have 
failed to instruct us. Before leaving this branch of the sub- 
ject, there is one other element of divine truth, to which we 
must for a moment allude, and that is one of infinite value; 
we refer to its perpetuity or endless duration. 

When we contemplate the instability and changing char- 
acter of all sublunary things, how deeply are we impressed 
7 



46 Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



with the shortness of their duration, and the constant change 
which is taking place among them. If we look for stability 
in the greatest efforts and profoundest counsels of mankind, 
— human laws and governments — we find that the greatest 
governments have within a few ages been dissolved, and that 
the laws which were enacted to be perpetual, have almost as 
quickly passed away. If we turn to the more permanent 
works of nature, and contemplate the laws of their physical 
organization, we learn that these are not to be perpetual; 
that even the great laws of attraction and gravitation, as well 
as the whole organization through which they act, must 
finally give way; that the earth itself, on which we live, and 
the great system of which it forms a part, have a time ap- 
pointed for dissolution and change. When we thus look 
around us, and behold mutability written upon every thing 
sublunary; when we can see nothing destined to immortality 
but ourselves, and can find nothing in the mateiial universe 
in which the soul can safely trust; with what joyful confi- 
dence should we listen to the declaration from heaven: ''But 
the word of the Lord endureth forever." What infinite value 
attaches to revealed truth, when we remember that it is des- 
tined to survive the ravages of time, and the revolutions of 
earth; that it will endure when the sun and moon and stars 
shall be blotted out; and that nothing but the countless 
rounds of eternity will give sufficient space for its eternal 
duration. 

Having detained you so long in the discussion of the first, 
we proceed to consider briefly the second division of the sub- 
ject:— 

II. The perfection of revealed truth, as seen in its adapta- 
tion to the great work of converting the soul. 

The conversion of the soul to God is a work of infinite 
magnitude, and of infinite difficulty. Man in his fallen con- 
dition is not only afflicted with grievous evils, but encom- 
passed with great difficulties. He is involved in sufferings, 
without power to escape from them. Sin has darkened his 
mind, perverted his will, and corrupted all his moral affec- 
tions. Hence, in his conversion to God, in order that his 
will may be changed, and his affections sanctified, his un- 
derstanding and his reasoning faculties, as well as his moral 
nature, must be addressed. The adaptation of revealed truth 
to recover him from his fallen condition, will be apparent if 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 47 



we consider the address which it makes to him as a sentient, 
rational and moral being. And 

1. The Bible addresses him as a sentient being, or one 
who is capable o# receiving and comprehending truth. 

The human mind without truth is in a state of darkness 
and inaction. Truth is its only light, and as necessary to 
the activity of its powers, as food is to animal existence. No 
other agency can be brought to bear upon the faculties of the 
understanding. Revelation addresses itself directly to man 
as a sentient being. Its whole message is truth. Its first 
effect is to remove darkness and ignorance from the mind, 
by communicating light and knowledge to the understand- 
ing; as David says, "the commandment of the Lord is pure, 
enlightening the eyes;" "the testimony of the Lord is sure, 
making wise the simple." The Bible not only makes known 
the truth, but it makes known all the truth, which it is re- 
quisite for us at present to know. We do not say that the 
holy scriptures contain all the truth of God; for this would 
not be true; but we do assert that they contain all the truth 
which it is either necessary or proper for us to have in the 
present state. They furnish us with all requisite knowledge 
of God, of ourselves, of our relations and obligations to him, 
and to each other, of life, of death, and of the future state; 
and this they do in the clearest, plainest and most simple 
manner, so that a way-faring man, though a fool, need not 
err therein. Thus, we see how well revelation is suited as a 
volume to instruct us, in our present state of darkness and of 
error. Truly "it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto 
our path." 

2. Its adaptation is also seen in the address which it makes 
to man as a rational being. 

The Bible is not only suited to instruct us, but it contains 
propositions of mercy, which it submits to the examination 
of our rational faculties. No declaration is more absurd 
than, that revelation proposes to set aside reason. On the 
contrary, so far as reason can go, that and revealed religion 
move in the same channel. Man is called upon to exercise 
his reasoning powers in judging of the truth and importance 
of the doctrines of the scriptures. God says expressly to 
him, "come, let us reason together." He also invites him, 
with all the light of reason, to search the scriptures, as the 
volume which testifies of himself. In this investigation the 



48 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



reasoning faculties are nurtured and strengthened, while 
truth commends itself to the enlightened judgment. Such 
is the strength of the evidence, and overpowering weight of 
the testimony, which establishes the truth of the Bible, that 
few men have ever candidly and thoroughly examined it, 
who have not been converted to its truth. Infidels and scep- 
tics seldom study the Bible. Their reasonings against it are 
founded upon false and superficial views of its teachings; 
they understand not its great and convincing doctrines, or 
they would be made wise unto salvation. 

3. The adaptation of revealed truth to the great work of 
convening the soul, is seen in its power to influence man as 
a moral being. 

Moral beings are not only capable of perceiving, and judg- 
ing of truth, but also of being influenced by the motives it 
sets forth. This forms the grand distinction between man 
and the brute creation. He is constantly influenced by mo- 
tive. The decisions of the human will, which by some 
have been considered involuntaiy, may generally be traced 
to the power of motive, operating on the judgment. Indeed 
it has, we think, been justly doubted, whether it is possible 
for man to act upon any important subject without being in- 
fluenced by motive. Motives, therefore, may be regarded as 
the great moral levers which operate on the human will. 
Taking this view of the subject to be correct, what transcend- 
ant power has revealed truth when brought to bear upon the 
human mind! The sacred volume is inscribed with the 
strongest, grandest and holiest motives in the universe. Al- 
most every page is replete with an exhibition of the highest 
interests of man. We may be allowed here briefly to advert 
to a few of them. We are told that God is love, and this 
the Bible illustrates — 

First. By teaching us his providential care over the hu- 
man family, in bestowing temporal blessings upon them. It 
informs us that he gives to men the seasons of seed-time and 
harvest; causes the sun to shine, and the showers to descend 
upon the earth; makes constant provision for the temporal 
comfort and happiness of all: in a word, that he opens his 
hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. 

Secondly. His love, as a motive to mankind, is especially 
set forth in the gift of his Son. In this we behold, at once, 
a boundless ocean of love, and a motive which is all power- 



Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 49 



ful and constraining. The scriptures represent God as look- 
ing upon the fallen condition of our race, with parental so- 
licitude and tenderness. When "God saw that the wicked- 
ness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagina- 
tion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, 
it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, 
and it grieved him to his heart." — Gen. vi: 5-6. He is also 
represented as pursuing mankind in their sin and rebellion, 
with loving kindness and tender mercies; and when there 
was no other means of salvation, such was his infinite love, 
that he gave his only begotten and well beloved Son, to save 
them from eternal death! O! who can read that touching 
passage recorded by John, without being moved by such a 
motive: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not 
perish, but have everlasting life." — John iii : 16. 

What a motive also to soften, melt and purify the heart, is 
furnished in God's love as it is manifested in the person of 
Christ, — in the life, obedience and death of our Immanuel. 
Who can read without emotion the history of Christ recorded 
in the gospels? Follow him in his humble condition; wit- 
ness his unwearied zeal and heavenly fervor; behold his 
acts of kindness and beneficence; observe his gentleness, 
meekness, fortitude and perseverance, under temptation and 
trial; listen to his prayer and agony in the garden; attend 
him in his betrayal and trial, in his mockings and scourg- 
ings; finally, follow him to the cross; witness his crucifixion; 
and hear him in the agonies of death, praying for his cruel 
murderers. Who we ask can read such accounts, and not 
be affected? Who can survey such love, and not be melted? 
Who can contemplate such purity, without feeling its holy 
influence? The purity of Christ's example, set forth in his 
life, and the strength of his love, exhibited in his death, are 
beyond all motives the most powerful to incline us to holi- 
ness. Christ crucified is the constraining love of God. 

Another class of motives which the Bible presents, is that 
which bears directly upon the present and future interest of 
men — the awful threatenings of God's wrath against the 
wicked, and the promise of eternal life to the righteous. Not 
only the interests of this life, but those of eternity are dis- 
tinctly set before us. We are told that God will render to 
every man according to his deeds. To the wicked, or "unto 



50 Revelation: Its Claims and Agency. 



them that are contentious and do not obey the ttuth, but 
obey unrighteouness, " he will render " indignation and 
wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that 
doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile. But to 
the righteous, to them who by paiient continuance in well 
doing seek for glory, honor and immortality, he will render 
eternal life. Glory, honor and peace to every man that 
worketh good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile; for 
there is no respect of persons with God." — Rom. ii: 5, 6, 7, 
8. Thus we are taught, that while it is true that the finally 
impenitent will be banished from the presence of the Lord 
and from the glory of his power, all are now alike invited to 
the blessings of salvation, who exercise repentance toward 
God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. To such is secuied, 
upon the immutable promises of eternal truth, a heavenly 
inheritance. They have the assurance of a peimanent home 
in the skies — <4 a building of God, a house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens." They are invited to the de- 
lights of the celestial city — the New Jerusalem — to join with 
the spirits of the just made perfect in ascribing blessing, and 
glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, 
and might, unto God and to the Lamb, forever and ever. 
Such are some of the motives which God has set before us 
in his word, to incline us to holiness. 

We have thus briefly spoken of the adaptation of revealed 
truth to convert the soul, in the address which it makes to 
men as sentient, rational and moral beings. From what has 
been said, we do not wish to be understood as excluding the 
agency of the Holy Spirit in regenerating the heart. This 
forms an essential part of the revealed system itself. No 
doctrine of the Bible is more fundamental, than that which 
our Lord declared to Nicodemus: "Except a man be born 
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." Without this divine agency the word is desti- 
tute of all its life-giving power. It is the province of the 
Spirit alone to accompany the word, to seal it to the heart, 
and make it efficacious. Then and then only it is, that 
" the word of God becomes quick and powerful, and sharper 
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing 
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and 
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 
We have now, beloved brethren and friends ; gone through 



The Criticism of Sermons. 51 

with the duty assigned us for this evening-, in delivering this 
annual sermon before the North Carolina Bible Society. In 
doing which it has been our object and sincere wish, to im- 
press your minds more deeply with the infinite vakse of di- 
vine truth — that truth which is able to make us wise unto 
salvation ; and to distribute which you have formed your- 
selves into this Society. Need we say any thing to increase 
your zeal in this holy enterprise; in the grand and blessed 
work of giving to the poor and benighted, at home and 
abroad, the word of eternal life. If we should esteem it a 
privilege to be able to offer bread to the starving beggar, and 
water to the thirsty and fainting traveler; what a favor is it 
to be permitted to give to perishing millions the bread of life 
and the waters of salvation. Let us by our contributions 
and efforts send them this inestimable blessing, and then we 
can adopt the language of the prophet and say to them all: 
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he 
that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy 
wine and milk, without money and without price." Whe 1 
we look back and behold the success which has already 
crowned the Bible cause, let us take courage and wax 
strong; and when we look forth to the great work which is 
yet to be performed, let us double our diligence, and increase 
our exertions; let us never be weary in well doing. That 
God may continue to smile upon our efforts, let us not forget 
frequently and fervently to pray; and as a suitable conclusion 
to the present exercise, may we not all unite with the author 
of the text in that comprehensive and sublime supplication: 
"God be merciful to us, and bless us; and g cause his face to 
shine upon us, that thy ways may be known upon earth, 
thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise 
thee, O God ; let all the people praise thee. O let the na- 
tions be glad, and sing for joy ; for thou shalt judge the peo- 
ple righteously, and govern the nations upon earth." Amen. 



THE CRITICISM OF SERMONS. 
On the question, whether sermons are lawful subjects of criticism, two 
widely opposite opinions are entertained : the one that their sacredness pro- 
tects them from any such unhallowed touch — the other, that this very attri- 
bute invites scrutiny, affords safety, and warrants the rudest attacks. The 
former of these has a slight tincture of papacy ; the latter, of infidelity. 
This is, therefore, one of those cases in which the advice of Apollo to 



52 



The Criticism of Sermons. 



Phoeton is worthy of attention. " In the middle path thou wilt go most 
safely."* By this we do not mean to say, that it is lawful to criticise, and 
unlawful to criticise severely ; but that criticism itself requires a due regard 
to the subject of the composition, and a prudent caution against miscon- 
struction by those for whose benefit the criticism is intended. The religion 
of a sermon, no more depends upon the style of its composition, than does the 
office of the minister upon the architecture or material of his pulpit. 
Sound divinity is sometimes defended by very unsound logic ; and falsehood 
may be invested with some of the loftiest and most beautiful embellish- 
ments of rhetoric and eloquence. 

The object of this little article, is to recommend the above mentioned 
caution. When the parent, at the dinner table, after his return from church, 
is correcting the grammar of the preacher, or perhaps a historical blunder, 
he may, though unwittingly, be diminishing in the minds of his children, 
the sacred import of wholesome and momentous truth, and blunting the 
edges of the most sacred and powerful of all weapons, " the sword of the 
Spirit, which is the word of God." He may point out inaccuracies if he 
chooses ; but let him be careful also to distinguish between what is inci- 
dental, and what is essential or vital. We also take this opportunity to re- 
commend ministerial meetings, or what may be, without impropriety, called 
ministerial clubs. When a meeting on an extensive scale may not be prac- 
ticable, it is easy for a few to convene frequently, at each other's houses, 
or the houses of friends, when scattered by distance in the country ; and 
there they may affectionately and faithfully criticise one another, with great 
profit to themselves and their flocks. 

And as an accompaniment if not a substitute for those domestic and social 
criticisms intended to be here guarded against, we venture to recommend a 
more excellent way. It is a domestic review of every sermon we hear. Let it 
be conducted by the most competent person. Ask William the text. Call 
npon Sarah for the exordium or introduction. Let Mary announce the 
main proposition discussed — the duty recommended — or the error exposed. 
John will perhaps remember the illustrations under the first division ; and 
Sally those under the second. We have known several little school girls 
trained in this way, to recapitulate every Lord's day, the whole sermon of 
the morning. This is an intellectual pleasure, and a useful, moral and reli- 
gious exercise. Besides, the little auditors will then cultivate the habit of 
listening to what they hear. Five sermons thus listened to, and remember- 
ed, may be of more substantial advantage than five hundred merely heard — 
heard to be forgotten between the church and the parental door. — Ed. 



*In medio tutissimus ibis. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER, 

New Series. April, 1847, No, 4, 

CHRIST CRUCIFIED: 

A sermon, by Rev. A. D. Gillette, Philadelphia, preached at the ordina- 
tion of Lewis Smith, at Hatborough, Pa., Nov., 1846. 

We preach Christ crucified. — 1 Cor. i : 23. 

An aged, eminent minister, when dying, said, " Were I 
to live to preach again, I would preach nothing but Christ." 

If it be a question with any of you, my brethren, how 
this topic can be sufficiently expanded to fill all a preacher's 
duties, we answer by saying, the subject has glories of suffi- 
cient compass and variety to fill the anthems of eternity. 

" Christ crucified" is a phrase combining all the sayings 
and doings of Jesus, as the author and finisher of man's 
faith and salvation. And hence, we preach Christ crucified — 

1. In the glories of his person. "The brightness of his 
Father's glory, and the express image of his person." One 
with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit, in power and 
glory. This is to be taught and insisted upon, not in the 
metaphysical style of an iron age in theology, nor in the un- 
yielding preciseness of the schools; but in the glowing and 
convincing language of revelation, — a revelation that speaks 
of Christ, the wisdom of God, and of itself as the power of 
God unto salvation, to every one that believeth. Christ as 
the first-born among many brethren, —God manifest in the 
flesh —who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 
and hence receives unforbidden, the honors which are due 
only to one who has in himself the attributes of the Al- 
mighty. 

To preach Christ crucified, is to set him forth as the first 
to engage in the heavenly meditations, which resulted in the 
great scheme of man's rescue from eternal burnings; and as 
the last to be present in applying the means he appointed for 



54 



Christ Crucified. 



man's temporal and eternal well-doing. It is to preach 
Christ as him who knew no sin, but who was made sin for 
us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; 
who liveth and was dead, and is alive forevermore; who 
hath the keys of death and hell at his girdle; who openeth 
and no man shutteth, and who shutteth and no man open- 
eth ; who shines 

"Fairest among a thousand fairs, 
A sun among a thousand stars." 

Concerning whom every admirer of his person, his govern- 
ment and grace, exclaims, " Whom have I in heaven but 
thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." 
"Thou art all my salvation and all my desire." "My Lord 
and my God, who alone hath immortality, dwelling in light 
unapproachable." In short, it is giving such views of the 
Lamb of God as Peter had when he said, "Lord, to whom 
shall we go? — thou hast (he words of eternal life." 

The sun in the natural heavens is the centre around which 
all the lesser planets revolve. So Christ, the sun of right- 
eousness with healing in his beams, is the centre of light and 
of attraction to all spiritual intelligences. His grace is the 
fountain of influence to the great kingdom of God. In him 
all the lines of the old and the new dispensation meet, and 
fiom him they all radiate. Jesus says, "Abraham rejoiced 
to see my day ; he saw it and was glad ; and before Abra- 
ham was, I am." The blood of the sacrificial victims sha- 
dowed his approach; prophetic vision spoke of his sufferings, 
and consequent glory ; and in the fulness of time, an un- 
known star directed the votaries of science and religion to 
the manger where he lay. 

II. To preach Christ crucified, is to preach him in the 
fulness of his vicarious merit. This is eminently according 
to his own teaching; and apostolic example never failed to 
assure those who confided in abolished rituals, that Jesus and 
the resurrection was their only hope. 

Jesus the Saviour, is a name that implies the infinite suffi- 
ciency of the atonement ; and this was unquestionably meant, 
when inspired men knew nothing among Jews or gentiles — 
confiding in Moses or idols — but "Jesus Christ and him 
crucified." My brethren, it is the prime meaning of the 



Christ Crucified. 



Bible, that Christ Jesus, of the seed of David, was evidently 
set forth, ciucified among men, and for men, — that all men 
through him might be saved. So, then, to preach Christ in 
the fulness of his vicarious merit, we have only to preach 
the truths conveyed by the Bible. To this only source 
should we be chained in the strong bonds of christian fideli- 
ty, — speaking only as the oracles of God. "If any man 
minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, 
that in all things God may be glorified." O! my brethren, 
it was the masteily conception of Chiist's merits that made 
his early and best apostle — abating various motives — say, " I 
rejoice that Christ is preached." Present him in his real 
character, and the sinner will soon learn, that there is no 
other medium of acceptableness with God, — no other way 
of escape from the wrath to come. Show his merits; hold 
up the mirror, the reflective power of God, true to life; let 
infinite love and purity and greatness be seen as they truly 
consist in Christ crucified, and enquiring heaits will repent 
of sin, — will shelter themselves in his cleft side, — will adore 
him Lord of all. 

To preach Christ's vicarious merits, you must preach him 
as dying that sinners might live; that any now live only by 
the grace of one who died on the cross; that we are blessed 
only through one who was cursed for our sakes, — and justi- 
fied by one whom multitudes pronounced not fit to live; that 
the only value of our hope is by reason of the shame, scorn 
and sorrow endured by one whom the world despised and 
rejected: — yea, that our surest, sweetest, strongest joys, take 
their rise from the place of skulls, — the rent rocks of Calva- 
ry, and those horrid scenes upon which the sun at mid-day 
frowned, — and at whose transactions inanimate nature put 
on shuddering animation, and from whose dreadful reality 
Jehovah, the father of the innocent sufferer, turned his face 
away. 

Says Andrew Fuller, in beginning to write his System of 
Theology, " I wish to begin with the centre of Christianity, 
the doctrine of the cross, and work round it; or with what 
may be called the heart of Christianity, and to trace it through 
its principal veins, or relations, both in doctrine and practice. 
The whole christian system appears to be pre-supposed by 
it, included in it, or to aiise from it." How true! Other 
foundation can no man lay than is laid, — Jesus Christ the 



56 



Christ Crucified. 



chief corner-stone, — he is of revelation the glory and joy — 
of grace and truth the exhaustless fountain. 

III. To preach Christ crucified, is to preach those doc- 
trines which pertain to man, as a being amenable to God. 
Do we discover to the view of our hearers the doctrine of 
human depravity? Then we magnify Christ as its only 
cure. Do we examine our relations to the divine law? It 
unfolds the riches of Christ's merits, by whose death its 
claims were all met and cancelled. Do we look to the im- 
portance of maintaining good works for necessary uses? We 
see Christ glorified in his followers' well-ordered lives. Is 
repentance insisted upon and exercised? Christ is exalted as 
he alone who gives it. Is faith the theme? Christ is its 
author and finisher — cause and end. Are the works of crea- 
tion, which set forth the eternal power and godhead of the 
Father, preached, as Paul on Mars Hill at Athens preached 
them? They lead us directly to the great fact of our neces- 
sity of applying to the blood of atonement; because "God 
hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world 
in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, and 
hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised 
him from the dead." Surely, whoever fails to preach Christ 
as the only refuge to the guilty, is himself guilty of not 
preaching as those early ministers did, who "counted all 
things but dross, in comparison with the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus." Such could joyfully sing, 

"O! the rapturous height, of that holy delight, 
Which is felt in the life-giving word ; 
Of my Saviour possessed, I am perfectly blessed, 
And am filled with the fulness of God." 

My brethren, on Christ crucified we build, — lay all our 
hopes for religion and bliss, for this world and the next. 
Who leans elsewhere, leans on a broken staff, that will pierce 
him sorely through. 

" He builds too low, who builds beneath the skies." 

We may differ in the use of terms by which we speak of 
the atonement; but all who know and teach the nature of 
sin and the necessity of forgiveness, must be agreed in 



Christ Crucified. 



57 



preaching Christ's death, as making provision in infinite mer- 
cy suited to the sorrows and necessities of the guilty ; and 
that no other name is given under heaven among men 
whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus. When 
no helper was nigh, he saved poor, sinking Peter, who cried, 
"Lord save or I perish;" he spoke comfort and hope to the 
congealing heart of the thief on the cross, even when his 
own heait was being wrung with infinitely more than mortal 
anguish. 

To do all this, — so to preach as to shew Christ the dying 
sinner's only hope, — only rescue from despair, and his safe 
convoy through nature's last dissolving struggle, man's final 
hour, — is not only to repeat the ancient promises, or describe 
the bleeding victim, — not merely to paint the dark crimson 
of that cloud that rose between Jesus on the cross and Jeho- 
vah on the throne, — not to mimic the rumbling earthquake 
or thunder trumpet of Sinai. No: — it is to go even to Beth- 
lehem and stop at the place over which the star stood still, 
and enter the stall, and behold there a virgin mother and 
her holy child Jesus, — to be filled with faith in him as your 
Saviour, and so fired with zeal and love to him and the 
souls of men, as to go out into the world annointed with 
fresh courage, preaching "Jesus seen of angels, believed on 
in the world, received up into glory," where he is seated at 
the right hand of God the Father, living to intercede for us, 
whence also he will come to judge the world at the last day. 

IV. To preach Christ crucified, is to preach him as man's 
example in moral excellence : one whom man is bound to 
imitate in all his imitable perfections; to preach him as the 
embodiment and exemplifier of zeal for his Father's honor, 
and the honor of his Father's law; as the true model of de- 
votion to others' good; hostile resistance to the flatteries, 
temptations and frowns of censurable pleasure; unwavering 
directness in duty, despite the terrors of persecution, or rigor- 
ous exactions of unrighteousness; in short, as at all times 
doing not his own will, but the will of him that sent him ; 
and though fearful danger threaten, abating nothing — so that 
he might finish his work. O, his was an unwasting ardor, 
a self-denying consecration of his all, for the redemption and 
establishment of his church, — the salvation of souls, — the 
universal victories of a religion pure and undefiled. 

It is when Christ is thus preached and believed on, that 



58 Christ Crucified. 

he becomes the all in all of every doctrine, and of every 
duty, — the trust entire, in every emergency. Are you " in 
poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth?" suffering physical 
or mental infirmities, loss of property, friends, or blighted 
hopes? In all these straits Christ is yours, and among you, 
"as one that comforteth the mourner." On him cast all 
your care, for he careth for you. He is your high tower, 
your rock of defence. If temptation or persecution rage, 
you may invoke the might and majesty of his name. If 
the whirl of earthly delusions threaten to engulf you, hope 
casts her anchor on his scarred bosom, and finds safe sound- 
ings. To those whose hearts contain only the shreds of tat- 
tered, torn and bleeding affections, Christ is preached as 
courting your love. Yes, he bled from his very heart's sin- 
cerest central fountains, that just such hearts as sorrowing 
sinners mourn, might be given to him. Are adversity's 
winds blowing fiercely upon the weak, trying their faith? 
Christ is held forth as their unchanging friend; confiding all 
in his love they can sing, 

" My lifted eye without a tear, 
The gathering storm shall see ; 
My steadfast heart shall know no fear, 
That heart shall rest on thee." 

Does the grave open and threaten to enclose you? Or is it 
rapidly enclosing the forms of beauty and loveliness, that 
have long and closely clung to your hearts? Christ cruci- 
fied invests the dying with the immortality of the patriarchs; 
wraps them in the imperishable folds of his own righteous- 
ness, and they walk through the valley and shadow of death 
fearing no evil: — his imitable example having moulded them 
into his moral image, they resign this mortal to the dust of 
the ground, in the triumphant assurance that he will " raise 
it up again and fashion it like unto his own most glorious 
body." 

V. To preach Christ crucified, we must preach his moral 
precepts. Apostolic example is equivalent to divine com- 
mand: and both are given that men may repent of sin and 
believe on Christ, in order to be saved. Christ crucified 
must, then, be preached as the subject of faith; belief in 
whom must be insisted on in all gospel sermons. 



Christ Crucified. 



59 



Christ's requirements, fiom the least to the greatest, must 
be plainly taught and practiced, both by them who preach 
and them who hear. Believing in Christ crucified ourselves, 
and pointing to him in our ministry, others must with the 
heart believe on him unto righteousness, and with the mouth 
confess him unto salvation; must profess him by being 
buried with him in baptism, in the name of the Father, and 
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; must imitate the lamb- 
like, peace-pursuing, peace loving example of Christ, who 
will heal all your moral maladies, direct your purposes in 
their proper channels, and, as it is his prerogative, justly 
but mildly reprove your vagrancies; and when you come to 
stand before God in judgment, he will stand near you and 
say to justice, " Put up thy sword, — I have found a ransom, — 
I have redeemed this soul by my blood, — he is mine to place 
among my jewels, — to sparkle in my crown as a trophy of 
my war upon sin," — for 

" Sinners may live, since their Saviour has died." 

Well may we exclaim, "O! the depths both of the wisdom 
and cf the knowledge of God!" — how immeasurable his 
grace appears in the richness of redeeming love. Of all the 
schemes that have been tried to assure the soul of life and 
forgiveness, Christ crucified alone is satisfying. This har- 
monizes all the heavenly attributes, — charms the celestial 
hierarchy, — renders human hopes sublime and sure, — fills 
our opening desires after immortality, — gives a relish for holy 
duties here, which are a foretaste and preparation for joys 
hereafter. When the heart, like a bird that has wandered 
from its nest and knows not where to light, having tried the 
world, comes back to Christ crucified, it rests its weary wing, 
and finds solid gound — enjoys sure repose. And O what 
visions does he reveal to us across death's narrow isthmus, in 
that futurity which borders on it ! It is the path Christ cru- 
cified walked and marked with glory, — once to us dark and 
dreary, — but it brightens as he approaches, and benignantly 
shines as he passes over it; faith follows him to the summit 
of the everlasting hills; there are endless varieties of loveli- 
ness and beauty, over which the ravished soul roams with 
not a cloud to dim, or a limit to obstruct its sight. In the 
centre of this scene, rendered luminous by the glory which 



60 Christ Crucified. 

covers i(, the city, the palace, the throne of Jehovah appears; 
trees of life surround it; rivers of salvation issue from its 
threshold; before it angels tune their harps of living melo- 
dy, and saints in sweet response hymn out their grateful 
songs. Well has Milton said — 

"Thrice happy these, the sons of men 
Whom God hath thus advanced, 
Created in his own image, there to dwell 
And worship him. — So sung they, 
And the Empyrean rang with hallelujahs." 

For the purposes of application, we remark — 

1. Gospel example and experience shew us how and in 
what manner to preach " Christ crucified." 

"Not with enticing words that man's wisdom teacheth, but 
in demonstration of the Spirit and with power." Our hopes 
of success should not rest upon the form of words, or the 
style of speech, — these are important in their places, and 
vastly more so than many suppose, — yet we are to expect 
success, if we have the appliances, only because we use 
Christ's means, — means which he has promised to accompa- 
ny by his almighty Spirit, our only surely. 

The apostles were taught personally by Jesus, the great 
teacher, three years, and hence were well taught. Inspired, 
they were fitted for their peculiar work; and in doing it, we 
find them truly eloquent, using poetic imagery. They 
moved amid splendors of a lofty, simple style, rich in heart 
convincing and life purifying truths, — conveyed in a diction 
that never tires, — so pure in taste, so noble in fact, and in a 
Racred sense so truly classic, that carping criticism is disarm- 
ed, and turned to wonder, admiration and praise. Yet all 
these appliances were used only as the key by which the 
casket was unlocked, or as the rich drapery in which the 
vastly richer jewel was wrapped. They may be compared 
to the sunshine, cloud, and shade, and darkness, which na- 
ture hung around the cross — adding to its attractions — while 
the gemmed sparkling glory there was " Christ crucified." 
This is the king sentence in inspiration, and is the key note 
in every heavenly song. 

In preaching, Christ's apostles laid their inspired tongues 
on all creation, and it wheeled into line direct, in the cam- 



Christ Crucified. 



61 



paign of truth against error, for the sake of man's salvation 
and his Maker's glory. Its vast store of beauty and rich- 
ness, its magazines of strength and durability, are ransacked 
for figures in which to shadow forth the infinite idea of the 
soul's redemption by the death of Christ. Sun, moon and 
stars, mountain and vale, ocean and river, — yea, the foxes in 
their holes, the birds in the air, the lightnings of heaven, and 
the lilies of the valley, are all incorporated in the Redeemer's 
sayings and sermons. When he came from Galilee to John, 
to sanction his forerunner's work in beginning and build- 
ing up his church, he divinely consecrates the limpid waters 
by saying, " Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness;" 
and being baptized in Jordan, makes it henceforth an em- 
blem of regeneration and purification from sin, and the 
means of answering a good conscience. 

When his great transactions as the incarnate are near their 
end, having put his holy impress on the world, in the church 
which his own blood had purchased, the consecrated bread 
and wine are made the lasting remembrances of his sayings 
and sufferings here below. 

Whatever God has made is splendid, magnanimous or 
beautiful. Emulous to excel in imitating and preaching our 
Master, we may span the heavens, — number and measure 
their decorating orbs, — examine the regions of organic mat- 
ter, — and in company with the great, and the wise, and the 
good of all ages, ponder the mysteries of infinite wisdom. 
Tiacing the Everlasting in his works, we may set forth and 
illustrate the Redeemer in his word. An unbounded pros- 
pect lies before us, in every spreading page of which, divinity 
shines conspicuous, and on whichever side you turn your 
enraptured eyes, seen in the light of his own glory, God ap- 
pears, and is declared here, as in his gospel, man's creator, 
benefactor and only Saviour. 

2. The characters and qualifications of the men first ap- 
pointed to preach Christ crucified, shew that success in the 
world's conquest was based upon their theme, — not them- 
selves. 

These had little worldly eminence, and it is well they had 
no more; for they were not sent to herald earthly, but heav- 
enly greatness. O! it was a grand idea, that preachers 
of a crucified Saviour should be men in whose condi- 
tion and conduct was shadowed forth a participation in 



62 



Christ Crucified. 



the lowliness and humbleness which the Divine author of 
this glorious scheme assumed. How foolish appears the 
wisdom of this world's plans compared with redemption by 
the blood of Christ. God hath chosen the weak things of 
this world to confound the mighty, in determining by the 
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe; and he 
has enforced and illustrated it, in his calling not many wise 
men after the flesh, not many noble, to be proclaimers of his 
mercy to the lost and dying, whom he came to seek and to 
save. In this how evident it is, that he would have the ex- 
cellence of the power to consist, not in man, but in God, — 
so that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord alone. 

My young brother, — I may add, I trust, my son in the 
gospel, — for I well remember, and this day pleasingly recalls 
that solemn hour, when you came to me enquiring, "Pastor, 
what shall I do?" and when having obtained instruction and 
precious faith, you said, "See here is water, what doth hin- 
der me to be baptized?" And I think of that happy hour, 
when these hands led you down into the water and baptized 
you, and you gave yourself to Christ and his church by the 
will of God, — whom I bless this day for having kept you, 
that your garments are unspotted from the world. He has 
preserved also your health, and prospered you thus far in 
your studies through college, — called and directed your way 
into the ministry, in this great State and this inviting field. 
My brother, continue faithful, and my heart shall be as your 
heart, our Master being judge. 

From what I have said, and from your own knowledge, 
you have learned, that you are not called into the ministry 
and this day ordained, to preach yourself, — but Christ Jesus 
the Lord, and yourself the people's servant for Jesus' sake. 
Christ, I trust, is formed in your heart the hope of glory. 
He, as the hope of the hopeless, will be your theme of 
themes. Without him crucified, your best s'ermons will be 
soulless — -lifeless. Egypt, Tyre, Greece and Rome, Ceesar, 
Cromwell, Washington and Napoleon, may be used as the 
artist uses his brush, to illustrate, bring out to view your 
thoughts, — but never to become the subject-matter of dis- 
course. You will preach the advent, labors, death, resurrec- 
tion, ascension, and final coming of Christ. You will dwell 
on him as a Prophet, Priest, King, Wonderful, Counselor, 
Mighty Godj everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. 



Christ Crucified. 



63 



At proper times, and always in a devout and reverent man- 
ner, you will dwell on the agonies of his soul in the garden 
and on the cross. In short, whatever the scroll of inspira- 
tion reveals, will be evolved in your ministry. 

Man you wiil begin with in his pupilage, as a sinner 
against the nature of a holy, and the claims of a divine law. 
You will urge his obedience to authorities, his benevolence 
in giving for good purposes, from the little or much his Crea- 
tor gives to hirn. You will preach, and enforce as a ruler in 
Christ's church, the discipline becoming the professed disci- 
ples of Jesus to maintain and observe. You will teach the 
duty of prayer in the closet, the family and social circle. 
You will announce God's requirements of man, u to deal 
justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God;" urge them to 
the spirit and practice of the meekness and gentleness of 
Christ, — to reason upon righteousness, temperance and a 
judgment to come, and whatever else becomes good living 
and sound doctrine, that you may now know or yet learn 
from the holy scriptures, — and in so doing you may both 
save yourself and them that hear you. 

All this you may do faithfully, and yet be censured, — for 
either preaching Christ crucified too much, or not enough, — 
but you will feel that it is a small thing to be judged with 
man's judgment. 

Some would have you dwell on their skeleton ridden 
hobby, as the true embodiment of all necessary preaching. 
Imitate Leigbton, in stormy political Scotland. His brethren 
asked him, " Why do you not preach up the times, all the 
clergy are doing so?" Leighton replied, "If all the clergy 
are preaching up the times, one poor brother may be excused 
for preaching Christ and him crucified." Many, acting as if 
they were the only conservators of virtue and reform, — the 
very personifications of Christianity, — paragons of clerical ex- 
cellence, may envy and traduce you: — let them alone. Do 
all you can to keep yourself and hearers from their spectral 
systems of harm-doing. In a modest, fervent zeal, emulate 
the apostles, — yea, and Christ, the preacher's model. In 
every possible way exalt him and his religion; breathe his 
very spirit; keep close after him; do all you can as a chris- 
tian privately, and as a minister publicly, to influence others 
to follow him in the new and living way. 

Remember, the grand incentive to obedience is love. Love 



64 



Christ Crucified. 



has power to assimilate the heart into a Saviour's zeal and 
tenderness. And as there is no love so overpowering and 
impressive as Christ crucified, we can conceive nor recom- 
mend no agency so sure to work out your claim to the office 
of a bishop in Christ's church, and save your flock, as this : 
Jesus first, midst, last, all, and in all. 

My brother, standing on Zion's high places, what do you 
see? A sight which, if any can affect heavenly beings, 
would make angels weep. An assembly of immortals ex- 
posed as brands to the eternal burnings, — sitting under the 
only means specially ordained for their rescue, — their fancies 
corrupted, their sensibilities charmed into ruinous indifference 
to religion, — candidates for eternity, sitting life away in the 
very sanctuary, where they are expected to learn how to live 
eternally. You watch for souls as one that must give ac- 
count, and you will not charm them with vocal melody 
and poetic style, sprightly imagery and thoughts that fall on 
the ear with seductive quietness, and play round the head, 
but come not to the heart. You will not suffer such to retire 
and remember only what they should forget, and be pleased 
only with what they never should have heard. No, no ! if 
they and you do these things, you know that they are not alone 
to blame. Legate of the skies! you will not for a moment 
cast aside the jagged cross, its nails, its thorns, its blood, its 
groans of an expiring God, — to throw over your own frail 
form the gorgeous drapery of human wit, or seemingly beau- 
tiful "men's inventions." You cannot, — son of a minister 
of Christ, — a son of God I hope also. You will never cease 
to feel and act as if you were on your way to answer for 
your work ; and can take no time to court a smile, or rouse 
the air of levity, — attract the wanton smile, or fill the idle 
gaze of those who hear you. If you do, you blindfold those 
who expect light from your lips, and lure to ruin those who, 
confiding in your honesty and sincerity, gave you their hand 
to be conducted up to heaven. To heaven may you, and 
your charge, and we all, come finally; and to God the Fa- 
ther, Son and Holy Spirit, be glory eveilasting Amen. 



THE 

BAPTIST PKEACHER. 

New Series, May, 1847. No. 5, 



EMINENT PIETY IN THE CHURCH, 

ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION OF THE MISSIONARY 
ENTERPRISE: ' 

A sermon, by Rev. J. Teasdale, of New Jersey. 

God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us. 
Selah. That thy way be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations, 
Psalm lxvii : 1, 2. 

How dark is the picture, drawn by the pencil of inspira- 
tion, of mankind, while under the power and dominion of 
sin! The apostle says: " When they knew God they glori- 
fied him not as God, neither were thankful ; but became vain 
in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened." 
Their vanity and ignorance developed themselves, in their 
"changing the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image 
made like unto corruptible man, and birds and fourfooted 
beasts, and creeping things." All the various systems of 
idolatry, with their abominations, have resulted from the ex- 
pulsion, from among the nations, of the knowledge of the 
only living and true God. For, as they did not like to re- 
tain God in their knowledge, he gave them over to a repro- 
bate mind, to do those things tvhich viere not convenient. 

How wide-spread are the evils! What do we behold, as 
we look out upon the nations, but the most shocking degra- 
dation and misery, resulting from the various systems of 
idolatry, whose cruel rites and ceremonies cause a chill of 
horror to pass through the christian's soul ? While he gazes 
upon these deathless millions, enveloped in the thick gloom 
of heathenism, emphatically dead in sins, he exclaims with 
Ezekiel in the vision, " Can these bones live?" Sickened 
and saddened at the sight of human wretchedness and woe, 
as he turns away, the voice of prophecy breaks upon his ear, 



66 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



announcing the glorious fact, "that the kingdom and do- 
minion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole 
heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the 
most High; and that the earth shall be full of the know- 
ledge of the Lord." Catching somewhat the spirit of the 
prophets, as he sees the standard of the cross planted in the 
very centre of the heathen nations, and its blood-stained ban- 
ner unfurled and waving in glorious triumph over them; as 
he sees the people emerging from their gross darkness and 
abject slavery, into the light and liberty of the gospel; hea- 
then temples crumbling down, and all things conspiring to 
hasten the glorious consummation, when " the kingdoms of 
this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord and 
his Christ;" hope sparkles in his eye, and joy unspeakable 
fills his heart. But now he descends from the rapturous 
height of his prophetic vision, to solve a most important 
question, viz : How shall these great things be accomplished? 
or by what agency shall the world be subjugated to Christ? 
Not willing to trust his own judgment in the answer, he 
turns aside, to listen to the instructions of Him, "who taught 
as never man taught." He hears him say to his disciples, 
"Ye are the salt of the earth; ye are the light of the 
world." Prom this lesson he learns, that the agency of the 
church is to be employed. He listens again, and hears the 
Master directing this agency: " As my Father sent me, so 
send I you." It was not, however, till after his resurrection, 
when all power in heaven and earth was vested in him, that 
he gave to his constituted representatives their authoritative 
commission, to "go into all the world," &c. ; thus informing 
them concerning the nature of their work, and to what ex- 
tent their agency was to be employed. And to prevent the 
church from being overawed from the magnitude of the 
work, and becoming dispirited from a sense of her insuffi- 
ciency, the divine presence and energy are promised, " Lo, 
I am, tvith you." 

In the agency of the church, there is great adaptedness to 
the work. This consists, not merely in the fact that mind 
influences mind; but, also, in increased influence, resulting 
from an experimental knowledge of that gospel, which is to 
be their chief instrument for the world's conversion. Her 
ability to wield successfully this instrumentality, is derived 
mainly from her piety. No other endowment, however 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 67 



splendid and complete, can be a substitute for this. It was 
this that gave to the apostles their unparalleled success. 
How mighty to subdue and save was the gospel in the hands 
of the apostolic christians! No opposition, however formida- 
ble, could stand, — no weapon formed against them could 
prosper. The results of their labor were adapted to inspire 
the hope that long ere this the power of the cross would 
have been universally triumphant. The only reason why it 
has not been the case, is, that the piety of the church has 
not been such as to secure this result. She is still too far in 
the wilderness for her light to be seen, " like a city upon a 
hill" and for her influence to be felt, as it should be, to the 
earth's extremities. Hence we see the propriety and wisdom 
of the prayer of the Psalmist in our text, " God be merciful 
unto us , and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. 
Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy 

SAVING HEALTH AMONG ALL NATIONS." 

He most evidently prays for an increase of genuine piety 
in the church, recognizing the fact, that this is inseparably 
connected with the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. 
The text, therefore, furnishes us a suitable theme for the pre- 
sent occasion, viz : That eminent piety, in the church, is 
essential to the successful prosecution of the missionary 

ENTERPRISE. 

May the God of missions render the discussion of the sub- 
ject subservient to the advancement of his own kingdom. 
We remark — 

I. That eminent piety is essential, in order to a just ap- 
preciation Of the MISSIONARY WORK. 

Our efforts are, generally, more or less successful, accord- 
ing to the estimate we place upon the object of pursuit. 
The christian, then, will be zealous, persevering and success- 
ful, only when he attaches great importance to the enterprise 
in which he is engaged. The christian's work! How dig- 
nified — how glorious — how enviable! Angels might well 
envy the exalted position of the church among the agencies 
employed for the renovation of the world. Her's is the work 
of leading a revolted world to throw down the weapons of 
their rebellion, and swear holy allegiance to their rightful 
Sovereign; the work of persuading the guilty and condemn- 
ed to sue for pardon and life, in the name of the only me- 
diator between God and man; the work of leading the sin- 



68 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 

polluted to the only fountain for cleansing, — the hungry and 
starving to the lich feast of the gospel, — the thirsty to the 
fountain of living waters, — the sin-sick to the great Physi- 
cian; in a word, it is the work of saving souls from an ever- 
lasting hell, and fitting them for an eternal heaven. And 
yet, notwithstanding the dignity and importance of the work, 
the church, on account of adverse influences, is liable to 
undervalue it. This is invariably the case, where there is 
wanting a lively piety. Then, the world presents its various 
objects of attraction and pursuit, — worldly enterprises are 
more highly valued and vigorously pursued, greatly to the 
detriment of the cause of God and souls. Of these facts, 
the present state of things furnishes, alas, but too strong an 
evidence. We plead for a piety that will call into vigorous 
action every dormant power of the soul; that will lead its 
possessor to the foot of the cross, from which point of obser- 
vation, he must look out upon a lost world, with the deepest 
emotion and concern. There, too, he will best sympathize 
with his compassionate Saviour, in his feelings for perishing 
souis, when he exclaimed, " Here am, I, send me." And as 
the tide of feeling rises for poor sinners, he will exclaim with 
the apostle, u I have great heaviness and continued sorrow 
in my heart for deathless souls" Possessing such a frame 
of mind, he is to do, or to become any thing, that sinners 
may be saved. O! if this kind of piety could but be revived 
in the church, how infinitely important, above every other 
work, would the missionary enterprise appear! 

2. Eminent piety in the church is essential to the fur- 
nishing of such a ministry as is demanded in the work of 
subjugating the icorld to Christ. 

In this great enterprise, there is assigned to the christian 
ministry a most important and prominent part. The preach- 
ing of the doctrine of the cross, is the divinely appointed 
instrumentality for the salvation of the world. Other means 
may and should be employed, such as private instruction, 
Sabbath schools, the circulation of religious tracts and books, 
&c, &c. ; but these must all be considered as aids to the work 
of the ministry. Indeed, very little has ever been accom- 
plished in any place, independent of the preached gospel. 

As the work is purely a spiritual one, and the object of 
attack the strongholds of sin, whose infernal influence upon 
mankind is to be counteracted and destroyed, we see at once 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



69 



the importance of exalted piety in the principal agency em- 
ployed. It has tiuly been said, that "the minister who 
would prosper in his w T oik, must be a man of deep and 
thorough godliness. It is no ordinary type of piety that will 
ensure this result. It is not enough that he be merely a 
christian. He must have the fruits of the Spirit, in strong, 
vivid, and prominent exercise. He must possess a conscience 
acutely sensitive to the touch of evil, and keenly alive to the 
honor of God. He must breathe the very atmosphere of 
prayer, live continually under the influence of a heavenly 
temper, and maintain an unbroken communion with the 
skies." But how can we safely calculate upon such a de- 
gree of piety in the ministry, unless there be higher attain- 
ments in the church? The streams will not rise higher 
than the fountains whence they flow; nor will the ministry 
be far in advance of the church in piety. Let 'the church, 
as is her privilege, occupy a place near the throne, where 
she would be surrounded by a religious atmosphere, and her 
sons, who are to stand upon the bulwarks of Zion, having 
been born and reared in this spiritual element, will be men 
"full of faith and the Holy Ghost." It was this exalted 
piety thai enabled the apostolic churches, in a very short pe- 
riod after receiving the commission of their Lord, to carry 
the good news into every province of the civilized world. It 
was this that gave to Brainerd, to Wesley, to Whitfield, and 
other modern luminaries of the church, such captivating, 
subduing power over their congregations, — that extorted from 
listening thousands, as the burning truth fell from the lips of 
these men of God, the enquiry, " What must we do to be' 
saved?" Such a piety must ail the heralds of salvation pos- 
sess, in order to the successful prosecution of their great 
work. 

Again: The missionary enterprise demands, not only a 
pious, but an intelligent ministry, — one of great intellectual 
power. Without stopping to assign all the reasons for such 
a demand, we will barely say, that the nature of the work 
to which they are culled, requires that they be men of high 
intellectual culture. To furnish such a ministry belongs ap- 
propriately to the church. I heartily rejoice that we live in 
an age when the erroneous sentiment is fast giving way, that 
if God calls a man to preach, he will qualify him, both spi- 
ritually and intellectually, independently of his own exertions 



70 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



or the aid of the church. Still the question might be asked, 
what has the piety of the church to do with the intellectual 
culture of the ministry? We answer, much every way. It 
would originate and sustain theological seminaries of the 
right stamp. Then, it would say to all the indigent young 
men, who are called of God to the responsible work of the 
ministry, "Go up to these schools of the prophets, that you 
may receive that mental training which the exigencies of the 
church and the world demand, and we will sustain you." 
Then, young men would not be thrust into the ministry 
with attainments far below those of the world, to row against 
wind and tide all their life, accomplishing not a tithe per- 
haps, of what they would have accomplished had they en- 
joyed the advantages of a thorough education. 

Again: In order to the consummation of our great work, 
we need, not only a pious and intellectual ministry, but one, 
as to numbers, greatly increased. Said the Saviour, " The 
harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, 
therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth 
laborers into his harvest." If the necessity then existed for 
an increase of laborers, how much mere now? The church 
has but to lift up her eyes, to behold the many fields already 
white and inviting the laborer. Look at China, with her 
hundreds of millions, long barred against the herald of sal- 
vation, but now her cities and provinces are open to the oc- 
cupancy of the church. Indeed we may safely assert, 
that all parts of the world are inviting our efforts. How 
loud are the cries that break upon our ears, come over and 
help us 9 Why, oh why, — in the name of the perishing 
millions we ask it, — is not the church at her post, praying 
the Lord of the harvest to multiply and send forth laborers 
into these whitening fields? What answer can be given, but 
that her piety is too feeble? And must this state of things 
continue? Heaven forbid. The church must ascend the 
eminences of Zion, and from her elevated position, must 
look out upon the world anxious to be saved, and from the 
throbbings of a heart laboring under the mighty weight of 
deathless souls, must utter her loud cries into the ears of the 
Lord of the harvest, that he will call into his vineyard more 
faithful laborers. 

This deep toned piety is not more necessary in praying for 
an increase of ministers, than it is to encourage those whose 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 71 

duty it is to enter the sacred office. In many of our churches 
young men may be found, who have been deeply impressed 
with the duty of preaching the gospel, and at times have felt 
that woe would lest upon them if they refrained, to whom 
not a single word of encouragement has ever been spoken. 
Some of them, after a severe struggle with conscience and 
duty, without encouragement, have turned aside to other vo- 
cations, and will probably live and die in the neglect of this 
most important duty. Thus, many a Boanerges, as well as 
son of consolation, has been lost to the cause. Besides these, 
there are many more in our churches, of talent and influ- 
ence, who have entered, and are preparing to enter, the va- 
rious secular professions, or have gone into counting rooms, 
woik shops, or upon farms, who, were there a higher tone of 
piety in the church, would say with their Master, as the Ma- 
cedonian cry breaks upon their ear, "Here am I 3 send me." 
As, under the influence of such an ail-pervading piety, all 
would be dedicated to Christ, time, talents, property, (fee, 
they would say, I freely abandon my lucrative profession, 
my store, my shop or farm, for the good of souls. Thus, 
every one in the church would stand in an attitude of readi- 
ness to perform the bidding of their exalted Redeemer. 
Then, how great would be the number of those who preach 
the gospel among the nations? "Many would run to and 
fro, and knowledge would be increased." 

3. A greater degree of holiness in the church, xoould 
produce a spirit of evangelical liberality, which is indispen- 
sable in carrying forward the missionary enterprise. 

The gospel is a system of pure benevolence; and wherever 
its legitimate influence is exerted, we expect to find the 
spirit of benevolence. How fully sustained is this fact from 
the word of God? " God so loved the word, that he gave 
his only begotten Son." " The Son loved the church, and 
gave himself for it." The Spirit is given to renew and 
sanctify the church. In Jesus all things are given us richly 
to enjoy; so that, "as we have freely received, we are freely 
to give." How strikingly exemplified was this spirit by the 
apostolic church? They first gave themselves to the Lord, 
and then consecrated to his service all they had. " They 
possessed the grand secret of giving up all for Christ, and yet 
accounting themselves rich; the art of taking joyfully the 
spoiling of their goods; the principle of finding their hap- 



72 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 

piness in living to God; of spending and being spent in his 
service. It would have been difficult to convince them that 
they were giving too freely to the cause of Christ, — that 
they were denying themselves, in giving so much to him in- 
stead of consuming it upon their lusts; while they were 
gratifying- themselves by so doing. It would have been 
difficult to convince them that their interest was distinct from 
the interest of Christ, or that they had occasion for tears 
while his kingdom was prospering, or any reason to exult in 
their own secular prosperity, if it did not subserve the ad- 
vancement of his cause, to which they had given them- 
selves." There was no lack of money to carry on the benev- 
olent operations of the church ; for if at any time there wa3 
a want of readiness, they were carried by the apostles along 
by the cross, where they would hear the soul-stirring appeal, 
" Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though 
he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye 
through his poverty might be rich." As this appeal pene- 
trated the heart, every morbid feeling was thrown off, and 
they yielded themselves anew for the world's speedy con- 
quest. Such was the influence of the piety of that age 
upon the benevolent feelings of the church, — and such, too, 
would be the influence of a similar piety upon the present. 
But it might be asked, in view of the pittance now cast into 
the treasury of the Lord, has the genius of Christianity been 
changed ? or are its professors noio released from the obliga- 
tion to consecrate their property as well as themselves? We 
answer no. But with much more propriety might the ques- 
tion be asked, has not the demon of selfishness taken such a 
hold upon the church, as greatly to counteract the benevo- 
lent influence of the gospel? This results from a superficial, 
visionary, powerless piety. Does not the present embarrassed 
state of the financial operations of the church, challenge im- 
mediate investigation, as to the cause? How crippled and 
inefficient the efforts of our mission Boards to spread the 
gospel, for want of means! What perplexity and trepidation 
attend all their operations! The missionaries abroad are fast 
sinking under the onerous burdens imposed, for want of more 
laborers; while the poor heathen are crying, "Send us more 
of those men of the great God, that show us the way of sal- 
vation." But instead of sending a reinforcement to supply 
the places of those who fell while struggling manfully with 



Piety essential to the success of ^fissions. 73 



opposing interests, and also to encourage the hearts and 
strengthen the hands of those now toiling and almost, ex- 
hausted, our Boards are under the painful necessity of ex- 
pressing, to those noble spirits, their fears that they will be 
compelled, although with great reluctance, to call home some 
of the missionaries. How painful, how dispiriting such in- 
telligence to these self-sacrificing men! " What!" they ask, 
"give up our stations, our churches, our schools, — give up all 
that we have accomplished, during years of painful solici- 
tude? We cannot do it." If brother Brown of the Assam 
mission may speak for the rest, and his is the language of all 
the missionaries, they say: " We can part with our families, 
and send them home to be supported by their friends, — and 
we shall do it if necessary; but this field we cannot aban- 
don. Should we be reduced to the extremity, — be recalled, 
or left without any regular support in a heathen land, I trust 
our Lord will not find us wanting in the day of trial. The 
call to return is one which we could never obey, so long as 
life and a moderate share of health is granted us. NO, the 
precious converts that are gathered in, and to be gathered in 
from among the people, are dearer to me than life, and with 
them, by God's grace, will I remain to the last." Here, 
brethren, is breathed the pure spirit of christian philanthropy 
and benevolence. And shall this soul-moving appeal, in be- 
half of the heathen and heathen converts, be unheeded by 
the 800,000 Baptists of America? Great God! what are we 
coming to? What will become of thy church, thy cause in 
the world? O! brethren, wz7/ not these melting, subduing 
appeals touch some chord, that will vibrate through the 
heart of the church, arousing into action all her benevolent 
feelings? 

Oh benevolence! bright ornament of the primitive church, 
where art thou fled? Missionaries are to be called home! 
for what ? For unfaithfulness to their brethren, to the hea- 
then, to God? No, no; to the praise of God be it spoken, 
no. Nor is it because the heathen will not receive their mes- 
sage of mercy; for they are crying for help. Called home 
for what? I blush when I answer; it is because 800,000 
Baptists in America will not furnish the small amount neces- 
sary for their support. The fact can no longer be conceal- 
ed. It will be published throughout the christian world to 
our prejudice and disgrace, should a single missionary be 



74 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 

recalled, or one be found willing and qualified, who could 
not be sent for want of funds. Such an occurrence would 
be a stain upon us, that ages could not wipe out. There is 
money enough and to spare in the church, could but the 
grasp of covetousness be broken, to carry on successfully our 
missionary operations, though they were increased a thousand 
fold. Higher spiritual attainments will alone break these 
Horeb hearts in the church. Then will flow out the streams 
of pure benevolence, to gladden and save the famishing. 
Then may we dispense with our present system of agencies 
for the collection of funds, as christians will give, not so 
much from mere impulse or momentary excitement, as from 
principle. Then will the treasuries of our benevolent socie- 
ties be kept full, or if by any unexpected demand they 
might become exhausted, the fact need only be known, to 
have them speedily replenished. Then, too, will be fulfilled 
the predictions of prophets: "To him shall be given the 
gold of iSheba. The merchandise of Tyre shall be holiness 
to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up. Surely 
the i^les shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to 
bring tbeir sons from far, their silver and their gold with 
them, unto the name of the Lord thy God. Kings shall 
bring presents unto him, they shall bring gold and incense." 

4. Exalted piety is necessary to the production of gos- 
pel union in the churchy which is essential to the world's 
conversion to God. 

The absence of this has presented to the advances of truth, 
the most formidable obstacle. The evils resulting from dis- 
union are incalculable. " It supplies infidels with their most 
plausible topics of invective; it hardens the consciences of 
the irreligious; weakens the hands of the good; impedes the 
efficiency of prayer, and is, probably, the painful obstruction 
to that ample effusion of the Spirit which is essential to the 
conversion of the world." No plea for it is valid that rests 
upon the spirit of emulation or rivalry, which it is adapted 
to excite. No real good can result from such an emulation. 
The world cannot be converted by the employment of un- 
holy means. With more propriety might an army of sol- 
diers, raised for the defence of the rights and liberties of our 
nation, instead of moving forward in solid phalanx to drive 
back an invading foe, divide themselves into companies and 
spend their time and energies in a quarrel among themselves 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 75 



about their different equipages. Such a course would be 
justly and loudly condemned by every patriot. Awaie that 
union is strength, the grand enemy of man has availed him- 
self of every means to keep the church in a divided, distract- 
ed state. Much time has been worse than wasted on account 
of it, brilliant talents have been employed in widening the 
breach, and thus lost to the cause; and there has been a 
useless expenditure of vast sums of money in support of nu- 
merous organizations, the offspring of disunion. Each sect 
must have its own peculiar church organization; its colleges 
and theological seminaries; its Bible, tract, and missionaiy 
societies; to support the machinery of which, a great amount 
of money and talent are required, which might otherwise be 
employed in direct efforts to save the world. 

Who has not felt that a multiplication of conflicting church 
organizations is a serious evil, and detrimental to the cause 
of truth? — an evil, which is being increased by the intolerant 
and disorganizing spirit now at work in the church, — a spirit 
that is not satisfied by a division into sects merely, but is 
seeking to tear asunder those who have lived in delightful 
harmony, recognizing one Lord, exercising the one faith, 
and practicing the one baptism ; a spirit that severs the holy 
bonds by which the north and the south, the east and the 
west, have been held together in one common brotherhood, 
putting forth their united energies in the great work of 
spreading the gospel among the nations. New tests of fel- 
fowship must be instituted. The flame of brotherly love 
that burned in the bosoms of a Baldwin and Williams at the 
north, and a Mercer and a Semple at the south, must be for- 
ever extinguished, and its blessed influence lost in directing 
to the one great object — the conquest of the world — the en- 
tire energies of the church. Unrestrained by divine influ- 
ence, in what will this end? The necessity of christian 
union may be learned from the Saviour's last prayer for his 
church, " That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in 
me and I thee, that they also may be one in us, that the 
ivorld may believe that thou hast sent me." For some years 
the object of this prayer was realized, in the perfect harmony 
that prevailed in the church in doctrine, in practice, and in 
means for the advancement of their common cause. What 
success attended their efforts! Who could resist their pow- 
erful influence? Then it was that the church broke foith 



76 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



"as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and ter- 
rible as an army with banners." Had this spirit of oneness 
continued to pervade the church, long ere this the cause of 
the Redeemer might have been triumphant, and thousands 
of voices of glorified spirits have been raised to their highest 
pitch in making proclamation that the "kingdoms of this 
world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ." 
This kind of union is considered, by the missionaries and all 
reflecting christians, a desideratum in the successful prosecu- 
tion of the missionary work. But however important union 
may be, it is not to be sought by concession or compromise. 
The only safe basis of christian union is the truth of the 
Bible. All doctrines and practices, creeds and confessions, 
however revered for their antiquity, or ably sustained by 
ecclesiastics, having no sanction from the Bible, must be 
abandoned. This will never be done until Christ is ac- 
knowled King supreme in Zion,and his expressed will taken 
as the rule of faith and practice. This recognition will not 
generally be made except under the influence of fervent 
piety. Every christian, thus filled with the Spirit, will re- 
gard the commands of Jesus as more authoritative and bind- 
ing than the dogmas of their favorite church or teachers. 
The ci'oss will be the only standard, around which they will 
rally, and its doctrines will be the mighty weapons, by which 
the embattled hosts of God's elect will conquer and save the 
world. 

5. Great piety is required, to inspire the church with cour- 
age and fortitude in the prosecution of her work to its final 
completion. 

By the commission, "go ye into all the world," the atti- 
tude of the church is made aggressive. It devolves upon 
her the duly to invade and conquer the kingdom of dark- 
ness. To these efforts of the church there will be offered 
desperate resistance, by all the allied powers of hell. Satan 
will come down in great ivrath, knowing his time is short. 
Infidelity has already taken a bold and fearful stand, and is 
preparing for the encounter. We may adopt the language of 
a recent work: "No longer restricted to a solitary few, who 
were content to pursue their unholy speculations, far away 
from communion with common mind, it has come forth from 
its hiding places and is mingling with the throng of men in 
their daily walks, and in all their phases of opinion and 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 77 



forms of intercourse. It does not even seek to disguise its 
object. Having thrown off the mask and shaken hands 
with shame, it stalks in the broad blaze of noon, and un- 
blushingly proclaims its abominations in the front of day." 
Having assumed such an attitude, it will not be driven from 
the field, but by a vigorous effort of the church. 

In carrying forward the conquests of the cross, the various 
systems of false religion must also be met and overcome. 
The vast empire of paganism, with its polytheism, cruel rites 
and abominations, is to be overturned. The pretensions of 
Mohammed are to be shewn to be wicked and illusive; and 
his deluded followers induced to renounce the false prophet, 
and receive Jesus as prophet, priest and king; to exchange 
the Koran for the pure word of God. In these encounters, 
courage and fortitude will be required of the church. 

But the most powerful ally of the prince of darkness, with 
which the church must come in collision, is the Romish 
hierarchy. Although claiming to be the church, her doc- 
trines are as much at variance with the principles of the 
religion of Jesus, as are those of Mohammed or the supersti- 
tions of paganism. More is to be feared from this source 
than all the other powers of the adversary combined. The 
spirit of this mother of abominations, has always been a per- 
secuting one: and she has loved to riot in the blood of God's 
martyred saints. She has kindled her fires and led to the 
stake thousands of the dear children of God, of whom the 
world was not worthy. She has invented instruments of tor- 
ture and death, unequalled by all the other inventions of 
hell. In her unquenchable thirst for power and dominion, 
she has hurled from their thrones kings and emperors, and 
crushed beneath her mighty tread kingdoms and empires. 
What she has done, she will seek to do again. Give her the 
power, and she will doom every protestant in the world to 
the dungeon and the stake. Such is the formidable array of 
enemies, which the church must encounter, in her efforts to 
plant the standard of the cross among all nations. In this 
sanguinary conflict, (for such we have no doubt it will be,) 
who can doubt, but that courage and fortitude will be re- 
quired on the part of the church. Courage will be needed 
to brave the storms of persecution, — to meet dangers and 
death in their most appalling forms; and fortitude for the 
patient endurance of the toils, sacrifices, sufferings, &c, in- 



78 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



cident (o the work. What can originate, sustain and invig- 
orate those christian graces, but an enlarged measure of the 
Spirit's influence? The Spirit's energizing power gives cour- 
age to go forward in the full view of these menacing powers 
of darkness; in view of the rack, the dungeon and the stake. 
It is deep piety that renders the church invincible to the ag- 
gregated powers of hell. Previous to that enlargement 
which resulted from the effusion of the Holy Spirit, how cir- 
cumscribed were the views, — how feeble the efforts, — and 
weak the courage, of the disciples of our Lord? Even the 
voice of a female, on one occasion, was sufficient to fill the 
boldest of them with consternation. But when the Spirit is 
shed down upon them, how fearless and bold they become. 
Under their first sermon anxious thousands cry out, " Men and 
brethren, what shall we do?" They proclaimed alike fear- 
lessly the gospel to the king and his subjects; to the learned 
and the ignorant; to the rich and the poor; to friends and 
enemies; in the midst of dangers and death. With what 
irresistible power did the word fall from their lips? Kings 
trembled upon their thrones; heathen gods fell like Dagon 
before the ark; the superstitious, the proud, the Greek, the 
barbarian, all bowed beneath the power of the doctrines they 
proclaimed. Such courage and fortitude can alone result 
from a similar piety. 

6. Exalted piety is necessary to sustain a lively faith in 

the MISSIONARY CAUSE. 

The missionary work is peculiarly a work of faith. The 
prophets predicted, and our Lord virtually promised, that his 
kingdom should be universally established. Under the in- 
fluence of an active faith in the fulfilment of these predic- 
tions and promises, the little band of disciples, as we have 
seen, after the ascension of their Lord, entered with great 
energy and zeal upon the vast work of subjugating the en- 
tire world to the cross of Christ. What principle less opera- 
tive and powerful, could have impelled this feeble band, — 
feeble as to numbers, to wealth and worldly influence, — to 
stand up in opposition to the long cherished and almost dei- 
fied maxims and doctrines of the world? They believed that 
error would recede before the march of truth ; that false sys- 
tems of philosophy and religion must give place to the doc- 
trines of the cross, and that the gospel, like leaven, would 
diffuse its principles, until all nations shall be brought under 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



79 



its saving influence. Circumstanced as they were, what 
could they do without strong faith in their work? and what 
can we do without it? Unbelief presents a thousand obsta- 
cles to the successful prosecution of our work; but faith sur- 
mounts them all. Unbelief operates as a palsy, but faith as 
a stimulus. All the great achievements of the church up 
to the present time, have resulted, to a great extent, from the 
operation of this principle. It was by faith that the ancient 
worthies subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtain- 
ed promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the vio- 
lence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness 
were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and put to flight 
the armies of the aliens. By faith we must go forth, like the 
early christians, as sheep among wolves; and, if need be, at 
the expense of all that is dear to us on earth, to carry the 
gospel to all nations. Let us believe as they did, that we 
shall go in the fullness of the blessing of Christ ; then may 
we expect that God will cause us to triumph in Christ, and 
make manifest the savor of his knoivledge by us in every 
place. Is not our Saviour now saying to us, my brethren, 
with reference to the measure of our success: " According to 
your faith be it unto you" 

7. Finally: Eminent piety is necessary to keep alive in 
the church, the spirit of fervent and effectual prayer. 

How indispensably necessary is prayer, in connection with 
every effort for the enlargement of Zion! We may organize 
our missionary societies, educate our young men, and send 
them forth to translate, print and circulate the sacred scriptures 
among heathen nations; raise an ample amount of funds for 
their support; and no saving influence can be exerted upon 
the perishing, without the accompanying agency of the 
Holy Spirit. This agency is promised to the church, in an- 
swer to believing prayer. And it is written for our encour- 
agement, that He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to 
those that ask for it, than we as parents are to give good 
gifts to our children. It was, doubtless, in answer to the 
united and fervent prayers of the disciples, who had been as- 
sembled of one accord, that the overwhelming influence of 
the Spirit was shed forth on the day of Pentecost. It was 
when the church at Antioch was waiting on the Lord and 
fasting, that the Holy Ghost said, " Separate to me Barna- 
bas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." 



80 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



They were sent forth as missionaries, and by the prayer of 
the church were commended to the work. Modem missions 
had their origin in an extraordinary spirit of prayer. When 
our English Baptist brethren moved in the God-like work of 
giving the gospel to the heathen, how deeply imbued with 
this spirit were their minds? They implored divine assist- 
ance both in public and private, in their meetings for busi- 
ness, and in the concert of all the churches. Their prayers 
have been heard, and great things have been accomplished. 
If once this spirit departs from the church, Ichabod will be 
written upon all her efforts; if it mingle not in her services 
at home or efforts abroad, she will never see the woild con- 
verted. Said the distinguished K. Hall, u Prayer touches 
the only spring that possibly ensures success. By speaking 
we move men, by prayer we move God. It is through the 
medium of prayer, that the littleness and meanness of men 
prevail with Omnipotence. The prayer of faith is the only 
power in the universe to which the great Jehovah yields; he 
looks upon every other power as more or less opposed to 
him; but he looks upon this as a confession of man's de- 
pendance, as an appropiiate homage to his greatness, as an 
attraction which brings down his divine agency to the earth." 

Here every one may assist missions; and every tear in the 
closet, every prayer in the heart over the miseries of those 
who are dead in their sins, every prayer lifted up in that re- 
tirement where no eye sees but the eye of " Him which 
seeth in secret," affords a most important benefit. These are 
the elements of success; these the pledges of final triumph. 
No one who attends our monthly concerts for missions, that 
life to the social and family prayer, but will be convinced 
of the necessity of the revival of this spirit in the church. 

With a few remaiks we close the discussion. 

1. We remark, first: That the missionary enterprise , both 
at home and abroad, is one. 

Our State Conventions and General Associations, our Home 
and Foreign Mission Societies, are but parts of the same great 
moral machinery for the renovation of the world. None of 
these can be dispensed with, so long as they work in harmo- 
ny, without serious detriment to the cause. We must culti- 
vate well the field at home, that we may have men and 
means to send abroad. Had we time, we might profitably 
glance at some of the reflex benefits. Suffice it to say, that 



Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



81 



by foreign mission efforts the energies of the church have 
been aroused to an extent far beyond what they would have 
been by merely operating in the home depaitment. Let us 
feel, therefore, that the missionary cause is one and indi- 
visible. 

2. We remark, secondly: That in the providence of God, 
pressing demands are now made upon the church for greatly 
enlarged operations. 

This is true, both as respects the home and foreign fields. 
There are many unoccupied, yet promising points, within the 
bounds of our own favored State. More than twice the 
number of missionaries now sustained by this Convention, 
might be profitably employed. And we may add, that such 
an increase is urgently demanded. And what shall we say 
of the operations of our Home Mission Society '9 If these 
were increased fourfold, they would come far short of the 
wants of the people in the great West. Many of the towns 
and villages now unoccupied aie as important as are any of 
those stations at which their missionaries are laboring. How 
loud is the call for enlargement in this department of our 
christian efforts? Then cast your eye over the foreign field, 
all white for the harvest. Look at China, with her hun- 
dreds of millions, perishing for lack of knowledge. She 
invites our labors. We have said, that this demand is made 
in the providence of God. He has gone before the church, 
and opened wide the door for the diffusion of the knowledge 
of salvation among the nations. To meet all these pressing 
demands, how greatly enlarged must be the operations of the 
church. 

3. Finally : It has now become a question with the church 
of great practical importance, how shall these demands for 
enlargement be met? 

We need, as we have seen, both men and money to meet 
the exigencies of the case. To supply the men, shall all t he 
pastors urge upon their respective churches, the duty of send- 
ing forth some of their most distinguished sons; and shall 
our theological seminaries be visited, and the young men 
who are pursuing their studies with reference to the ministry, 
be entreated to turn their attention specially to the missionary 
cause? Something might in this way be done, but it will 
never fully meet the demand for laborers. To raise the 
money required, shall we multiply collecting agents and send 



82 Piety essential to the success of Missions. 



them all over the country, to make known the wants of ihe 
perishing? This might, perhaps, increase the receipts into 
our treasury, but can never permanently supply the demand. 
In very many cases, as soon as the excitement subsides, 
which was produced by the moving appeals and effecting 
statements of the agent, covetousness is again enthroned in 
the affections, and the loud cries of the perishing are unheed- 
ed. But the question, still unsolved, "what shall we do?" 
presses itself upon us. Our answer is, we must commence 
farther back, — we must begin with the piety of the church. 
And in propoition to the increase of true piety here, will be 
the increase of laborers and means for their support. 

Brethren in the ministry, let it now be our chief solicitude 
to increase and elevate our own piety, and that of our respec- 
tive churches. If we all build over against our own doors, 
the walls will be joined and completed. Whenever we at- 
tain to that degree of holiness which our Lord requires, we 
can dispense with all our agencies, that are now needed to 
beg us to do our duty in giving to the various objects of be- 
nevolence, end ministers will have less trouble to collect a 
few dollars for the State Convention, the Bible, or the Mis- 
sion cause. Then all will give 'from principle as the Lord 
prospers them. That we might have an increase of laborers 
"full of faith and the Holy Ghost" we sincerely wish that 
an additional professorship might be established in each of 
our theological seminaries, to be filled by a man of high spir- 
itual attainments, whose sole business it should be to culti- 
vate moral feelings and raise to a greater degree of eminence 
the piety of the young men qualifying for the work of the 
ministry. Were high attainments, in this respect, as con- 
stantly kept before their minds, as is the importance of great 
literary attainments, we should have a much more efficient 
and powerful ministry. Then would our young men, hav- 
ing completed their prescribed course of studies, instead of 
seeking a location in a large town or populous place, ask of 
our mission Boards an appointment to labor in destitute re- 
gions, or with the few now in the field among the heathen. 
Under the influence of such a piety, "many would run to 
and fro, and knowledge would be increased;" "the way of 
the Lord would be known upon earth, and his saving health 
among all nations." 



Short Sermon. 



S3 



SHORT SERMON. 

Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price. — 1 Cor. vi : 19, 20. 

What do we mean when we say that what we hold is not 
our own, but another's? We mean that we have no right to 
use it as our own. We must be governed in our use of it, 
simply by the direction of the owner. If we appropriate it 
to our own use, we are dishonest. We are guilty of robbery. 
Or, if he allows us to use it, or any part of it, for ourselves, 
we must be governed in all respects by his will. If a man 
commit his property into my hands for a term of time, I must 
surely do wilh it just what he prescribes. 

And, again, we must give up what is not our own, when- 
ever the owner calls for it. If we refuse, we are dishonest. 
We have no right to retain either the whole, or any part of 
it. It is all the owner's, and he is the only rightful proprie- 
tor. If you lend a man a hundred dollars, and when you 
call upon him for it he declines to surrender yourproperty, or 
puts you off wilh a shilling, you would never trust him again. 

Now this is precisely what is meant, when, in our text, it 
is said, " Ye are not your own." Whatever we possess is not 
our own, but Christ's. A certain nobleman delivered to his 
servants talents, and said, "occupy till I come." 

You are called by the name of Christ. You profess to be 
his. You say you are not your own. But have you ever 
reflected on the meaning of this confession? You are a pro- 
fessional man; your learning, and talent, and influence, are 
Christ's. What right have you to use them for the purpose 
of fostering your own ambition, or in any respect ministering 
to yourself? If you thus use them, you rob Christ. 

You are a minister of the gospel. You have been in a 
peculiar manner set apart to the service of the Saviour. You 
have, by your own will, laid yourself upon his altar. Have 
you then a right to live as other men live? Have you a right 
to shrink from hardship, and reproach, and^inconvenience, 
and toil, and declare that you will serve Christ, but it must 
be in a comfortable settlement? Have you a right to pursue 
what studies you please, to read what books you please, en- 
gage in what enterprises you please, for the sake of reputa- 
tion, or honor, or power; or, in a word, to make your calling 
as an ambassador for Christ, an instrument for attaining to 
temporal ease, or honor, or emolument? Christ had infinite- 



84 



Short Sermon. 



ly greater facilities than you for doing this; did he use them 
thus? Paul was an abler and more learned man than you, 
hi rejoiced in being made the offscouiing of all things for 
Christ. 

You are a merchant or mechanic. You are by industry 
and skill acquiring properly and standing. But you say that 
these are not your own. By what right then do you use 
them as you do? # # # In your arrangements 
at home and abroad, in your expenditures for pleasure or 
amusement, for yourselves or your children, in your princi- 
ples of accumulation, I do not see that you even profess to 
differ from honest worldly men around you, who never pro- 
fess that they are not their own. # # # 

But I have said, that if any thing with which you are en- 
trusted is not your own, you are under obligation to surren- 
der it up as soon as the owner calls for it. If what you hold 
be his, when he requires it, you have no right to retain it a 
moment longer. 

Christ intimates his claim ,by the facts brought to your 
knowledge. A world for which he died is perishing. He 
has spread their case before you. They are demanding the 
word of life at your hands. They will perish if you do not 
come to their aid. Your talents, and labors, and wealth, are 
necessary to save a world from destruction. If you do not 
surrender them when he thus demands them, what do you 
mean by saying you are not your own? Will a man rob God? 

Christian minister and candidate for the ministry, have you 
heard the cry of perishing millions? Christ demands your 
services. Have you offered them to him? Have you ever 
brought it home to your conscience, my talents are not my 
own, and Christ has a right to use them where he will? Have 
you not often looked around you on your circle of friends, your 
goodly parish, the comforts of home, the respect with which 
you are treated by your fellow-citizens, and said in your 
heart, I cannot give up all this for Christ? 

Christian layman, the salvation of the heathen cannot, un- 
less by a miracle, be accomplished without your property. 
Christ demands it of you. It is a solemn fact. You cannot 
escape from it. He does not ask for that which you do not 
feel. He requires that you make sacrifices for him, and to do 
it to any extent that may be necessary for carrying on his 
work of mercy. — Dr. Howell. 




THE 

BAPTIST PREACHEK. 

New Series, June, 1847. No, 6. 

THE DIVINE RECTITUDE: 

A sermon by Rev. J. L. Reynolds, pastor of the 2nd Baptist church, 
Richmond, Va. 

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ? — Gen. xviii : 25. 

In a world like ours, in which evil abounds and triumphs, 
there is much to perplex the pious mind. The scenes of 
life are variously checkered with light and darkness, and the 
colors of good and evil are strangely intermixed and blended. 
Prosperity and adversity are capricious in their objects and their 
seasons, and "all things come alike to all; there is one event 
to the righteous and the wicked." Eccl. ix: 2. Or, more 
perplexing still, " The ungodly prosper in the world: they 
increase in riches. There is a just man that perisheth in his 
righteousness: and there is a wicked man that prolongeth 
his life in wickedness." Eccl. vii: 15. In the career of life, 
"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong: 
neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of un- 
derstanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and 
chance happeneth to them all." Eccl. ix: 11. 

Such are some of the difficulties with which, to an ordi- 
nary observer, the dispensations of Providence are encum- 
bered; and whether we turn our attention to the kingdom of 
nature or of grace, they equally meet our view, and baffle 
our comprehension. 

It is sometimes the pleasure, as it is doubtless the preroga- 
tive, of Deity, to wrap his designs in impenetrable mystery; 
to throw around the measures of his government a darkness 
which the eye of man cannot pierce; and to involve the 
motives of his procedure in an obscurity which eludes the 
discovery of the philosopher equally with the peasant. When 
with an irreverent curiosity we attempt to pry into those 



86 



The Divine Rectitude. 



"secret things which belong unto God," and with an incau- 
tious tread, to obtrude ourselves into the penetralia of that 
august temple, in which are treasured the counsels of the 
Almighty, the monition of heaven arrests our footsteps at its 
very threshold; and the irrevocable mandate is, "hitherto 
shalt thou come, and no farther." 

For oft amid thick clouds 
And dark, does heaven's all-ruling sire 
Choose to reside, (his glory unobscured,) 
And with the majesty of darkness round, 
Circle his throne. 

So that the most attentive investigation must stop short with 
the confession, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself." 
"Thy judgments are a great deep, and thy ways past find- 
ing out." 

Amid the obscurity which invests the divine administra- 
tion, the mind might be perpetually agitated with doubts and 
fears; or, as its only refuge, landed in infidelity, had it not 
some anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast. There is 
nothing so well adapted to stay the mind under all the vicis- 
situdes of our present state of being, and to fortify it against 
the misgivings which are attendant upon misfortune, as a 
firm reliance on the rectitude of the Supreme Being. It 
behooves us therefore to have, as an antidote against the ills 
of life, and a refuge in limes of trouble, a deep and settled 
conviction that the Judge of all the earth will do right; a 
confidence in the wisdom and justice of his administration, 
that will survive the most perilous shocks of adversity; a faith 
which says, " though he slay me, yet will I trust in him ;" 
which can stand beside the grave of its buried hopes, yea the 
wreck of all earthly things, and in reverent submission ex- 
claim: "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good. 
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 

If the Supreme Judge fails to do right, it must be either 
because he does not know what is right, or because he lacks 
the power to do right, or because he has no inducement to 
do right. It is the object of this discourse to shew, on the 
contrary, — 

1. God has all the wisdom necessary to enable him to 
know what is right. 



The Divine Rectitude. 



87 



2. He possesses all the requisite power to do right. And 

3. He can be under no inducement to depart from recti- 
tude; but, on the contrary, has the highest possible induce- 
ments to do, in all cases, what is right. 

Our first proposition, then, is: — 

I. The Divine Being knows what is right. 

This may be sustained by an appeal to every man's con- 
sciousness, — to the idea which every man forms of God. 
Our notion of the Deity is that of an assemblage of infinite 
perfections. Infinite wisdom must therefore be one of those 
perfections. 

If we pass from our abstract conception of the character of 
God to his works, we shall see the most illustrious evidences 
of his ineffable wisdom. The whole universe is but one 
magnificent mirror, which reflects the intelligence of its great 
architect. The expanse of the heavens, whether at midnight 
presenting to the eye one vast illumination, or by day stretch- 
ing out its interminable azure, robed in the drapery of clouds, 
or painted by the setting sun, bespeaks the wisdom of Him 
whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. The earth, 
with its myriad forms of life and beauty, and its matchless 
contrivances, most plainly indicates that infinite intelligence 
must have presided over its creation. "The earth is full of 
thy riches; in wisdom hast thou made them all." Contri- 
vance proves design, and an intelligent design evinces an 
intelligent designer. If we trace the various marks of design 
which the material universe presents, to their source, we 
shall find them terminate in Him who formed this wondrous 
frame. "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath 
created these things? Who hath directed the Spirit of the 
Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? He is the 
only wise God. 5 ' 

The inference from such indubitable manifestations of 
divine wisdom in the works of creation is, that God is pos- 
sessed of infinite wisdom in every other respect. He who 
could fill a world with such perfect contrivances, and such 
wise adaptation of means to ends, — He who formed the eye 
for seeing, the ear for hearing, and adjusted in every other 
respect the exquisite mechanism of man's frame, "so fear- 
fully and wonderfully made," — must be able to carry the 
evidences of his wisdom into every other department of the 
material and moral universe. In other words, he who knows 



88 



The Divine Rectitude. 



what is right in these cases, must know what is right in all 
others. " Known unto God are all his works from the be- 
ginning of the world." (Acts xv: 10.) 

The argument does not stop here. Whence have we 
derived our notion of justice? Did we not receive it from 
God? The archetype of this idea is eternally existent in the 
divine mind, and is only borrowed or implanted in ours. 
"Shall any teach God knowledge?" (Job xxi: 22.) There 
are just men upon the earth. But, "shall mortal man be 
more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his 
Maker?" (Job iv: 17.) 

All our knowledge is either directly or remotely derived 
from the Deity. If there is a spirit in man, it is the inspira- 
tion of the Almighty that giveth him understanding. "He 
giveth wisdom unto the wise and knowledge to them that 
know understanding." (Dan. ii: 21.) "He that planted 
the ear, (is the just reasoning of the Psalmist,) shall he not 
hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? he that 
teachelh man knowledge, shall not he know ?" (Psl. xciv : 9.) 

A frequent source of error in the decisions of earthly judges 
is their liability to be imposed upon by false evidence. Be- 
fore a human tribunal hypocrisy may pass undetected, and 
the criminal may evade the penalty due his guilt, by resort- 
ing to the subterfuges and concealments of perjury. "But 
the Lord seeth not as man seeth : for man looketh on the 
outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 
Sam. vi: 7.) "His eyes are upon the ways of man, and he 
seeth all his goings. There is no darkness nor shadow of 
death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves." 
(Job xxxiv: 21.) "If I say, surely the darkness shall cover 
me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the dark- 
ness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: 
the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." (Psl. 
cxxxvii: 12.) God sees the end from the beginning; the 
past and the future are equally well known with the pre- 
sent; and no contingencies can ever arise which are not em- 
braced within the comprehension of his infinite intelligence. 
Experience makes no contributions to the divine knowledge, 
and hence the divine purposes have been formed under the 
guidance of a wisdom which spans the amplitude of all real 
and possible existences. 




The Divine Rectitude. 



89 



It is apparent, from the considerations which have been 
suggested, that the Supreme Judge knows what is right. 

II. I proceed to shew that he possesses the poiverlo do 
right. 

Power is another attribute of divinity. It must therefore 
belong to the Most High. To deny it would be to recede into 
the cheerless void of atheism. "God hath spoken once: 
twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God." 
(Psi. lxii: 2.) This power he submits to our inspection in 
the stupendous productions of his mighty hand. This it is 
that has founded the earth and garnished the heavens, and 
propels the vast and complicated machinery of the universe. 
Its magnitude is immense; its resources inexhaustible; its 
duration infinite; its manifestations indefinitely varied. It 
says, "let there be light, and there is light." It speaks into 
existence a world as easily as an atom. It unfolds the petals 
of the smallest flower, or gilds the wing of the butterfly, and 
kindles the burning fountains of the sun. It propels the 
current of life through the smallest animalcule, and wheels 
the planets through their mighty orbs. " Is any thing too 
hard for the Lord?" (Gen. xviii : 14.) " Who hath measured 
the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven 
with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a 
measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills 
in a balance. Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, 
and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold he 
taketh up the isles as a very little thing. All nations before 
him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than 
nothing and vanity." (Is. xl: 12, 15, 17.) 

God has also exhibited his power in the accomplishment of 
his promises; and those of the ancient prophecies which 
have already been fulfilled, are standing memorials of his 
irresistible might. "He worketh all things after the counsel 
of his own will." (Eph. i: 2.) The wheels of his govern- 
ment roll steadily on against all obstacles. " Who is he that 
saith and it cometh to pass when the Lord commandeth it 
not?" (Lam. iii: 37.) "He doeth according to his will in 
the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, 
and none can stay his hand or say unto him, what doest 
thou?" (Dan. iv: 35.) "Touching the Almighty we can- 
not find him out: he is excellent in power and in judgment 
and in plenty of justice. Men do therefore fear him." (Job 
xxxvii: 23.) 



90 



The Divine Rectitude. 



It has thus been shewn, that the Judge of all the earth 
possesses all the knowledge and power requisite to enable 
him to do right. It remains to be shewn, that no induce- 
ment can prevail with him to prevent justice; but that we 
have every reason to expect a righteous judgment at his 
tribunal. 

The motives which may operate with a judge to turn him 
aside from the path of equity and corrupt his decisions, are 
those which appeal to his own interest, or are derived from the 
fear or favor of the patties whose cause may be submitted to his 
arbitrament. We cannot suppose that in the paltry affairs of 
men the interests of Deity are at stake; or that he cannot so 
arrange the affairs of the entire universe, as that his own in- 
terests may coincide with those of his creatures, and with the 
claims of perfect rectitude. 

God cannot be moved by fear, for he is omnipotent and 
may defy the universe. Nor is it reasonable to suppose that 
favor would bias his decisions to the side of injustice. The 
holy and just one cannot connive at wickedness. " He is of 
purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity." 
(Hab. i: 13.) "Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, 
neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Is it fit to say 
to a king, thou art wicked? and to princes, ye are ungodly? 
How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of 
princes nor regardeth the rich more than the poor : for they 
all are the work of his hands." (Job xxxiv: 12, 18.) 

The judge of a human tribunal may do wrong. Reason 
may be dethroned by passion, or perverted by selfishness, and 
the voice of justice lost in the jar and strife of conflicting in- 
terests; but injustice may not tarnish the throne of the Eter- 
nal. "Far be it from God that he should do wickedness: 
and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity." 
(Job xxxiv: 10.) 

We can conceive of no inducement which could operate 
with the divine mind to subvert the eternal principles of rec- 
titude; but a slight attention to the subject will shew that 
the Ruler of the universe has every possible motive for do- 
ing what is right. 

A reference to the object for which the universe was created 
will elucidate this point. When God created man, and 
placed around him the magnificent theatre on which he is 
destined to move and act, he must have had some object in 



The Divine Rectitude. 



view. This was doubtless his own glory. Although other 
subordinate considerations may have entered into the general 
design, yet the prominent object must have been his own 
glory. Thus, " he has made everything beautiful in his 
time." (Eccl. iii: 11.) "The heavens declare his glory, and 
the firmament showeth his handy-work." Every production 
of Deity is a visible manifestation of his perfections. The 
planets, as they roil in the immensity of space, utter forth a 
commanding eloquence in his praise. The comets, as they 
wheel their blazing cars to the utmost verge of creation, pub- 
lish the glories of the Supreme Architect: — 

"What though no real voice nor sound, 
Amid their radiant orbs be found, 
In reason's ear they all rejoice, 
And utter forth a glorious voice, 
Forever singing as they shine, 
The hand that made us is divine." 

The material universe has never failed in its allegiance (o 
its Maker. The sun still shines as brightly as when his rays 
first fell upon the new-created earth, and the moon is as reg- 
ular in her periodical visits as when her silvery light illumined 
the bowers of paradise. Sin has introduced into the 
intellectual creation confusion and discord ; but from the 
material universe ascends one harmonious and universal an- 
them of praise to the Creator. Thus, inasmuch as the works 
of God display his perfections, it may truly be said with the 
Psalmist, "All thy works praise thee, O Lord." 

But what is that of all his works, from which the greatest 
glory must redound to the Creator? Certainly, the most 
finished specimen of his workmanship. This is created 
mind. And how does the mind augment his glory, but by 
celebrating his praise? But praise, to add to the glory of 
any one, indeed to be praise at all, must be willingly offered. 
The forced adulation of the menial who crouches at the feet 
of the despot, adds not to his glory. Such praise is as de- 
grading to him who receives as to him who offers it. To 
augment his glory, it must come as the spontaneous tribute 
of the heart. Hence, the highest glory of God in his works, 
consists in the voluntary praise of his intelligent creatures. 

You will thus perceive, that is a matter of the highest 



92 



The Divine Rectitude. 



moment with the Deity, to act in such a manner as to de- 
serve the praise of his creatures. Having himself established 
the principle of justice, and interwoven it, as an original sen- 
timent, into the constitution of human nature, it is but just 
to suppose that he would make it the rule of his own proce- 
dures; and, in ihe administration of his moral government, 
would so exhibit his character to created intelligences as to 
commend it to their admiration, and elicit their spontaneous 
homage and confidence. The perfection of his nature, as 
well as the design of creation, necessitates this course. A 
single act of injustice would vitiate the claims of God upon 
his creatures, and absolve from their allegiance the intelligent 
universe. The loyalty of his subjects, whether human or 
angelic, rests upon their firm conviction of his immutable 
rectitude. The perpetration of injustice would reduce the 
government of God to an anarchy, or transmute it into an 
iron despotism, in which might would be right, and the ca- 
price of a superior power the only criterion of rectitude. 

This part of the argument may be briefly summed up in 
the following sorites: God must always act from the highest 
motive. — His highest motive is his own glory. — His highest 
glory consists in the voluntary praise of his intelligent crea- 
tures. — This praise is voluntary only on the supposition that he 
does right. The conclusion follows, — that he has the high- 
est possible inducement to do in all cases what is right. 

It has thus been shewn, that the Judge of all the earth 
possesses all the wisdom and power, and is under every in- 
ducement, to do right. The argument is therefore complete, 
and the conclusion follows, that the Judge of all the earth 
will do right. 

If we appeal from argument to facts; to our knowledge 
of what God has done in the administration of his moral 
government among men, we shall have still further proofs of 
his immutable rectitude. The inspired history of that gov- 
ernment, while it is replete with the evidences of his gracious 
benignity to man, is not less illustrative of the vigor with 
which he maintains the righteous honors of his throne. On 
that most illustrious of all the displays which have been 
made of the character of the Supreme Judge, the vicarious 
obedience unto death of his well-beloved Son, the claims of 
justice were all met and satisfied. When man had sinned, 
and incurred the displeasure of his Creator, the demands of 



The Divine Rectitude. 



93 



this attribute of Jehovah interposed the only obstacle to pre- 
vent the extension of pardon, and his restoration to the favor 
of God. But in the gracious economy of the gospel, this 
obstacle is effectually removed. The Lord Jesus Christ, as 
the friend and substitute of sinners, has obeyed the law and 
suffeied its penalty. His perfect righteousness, imputed to 
the believer for justification, meets all the requisitions of the 
divine government; and God can now be "just and the 
justifier of him that believeth on Jesus." Never did justice 
appear so awfully severe as when her sword was unsheathed 
on Calvary, to smite the Son of God, and her claims were 
cancelled by the effusion of his precious blood. The cioss 
is radiant with the glory of the divine rectitude; and pro- 
claims the sternness and severity of justice, no less distinctly 
and emphatically, than the flaming summit of Sinai and the 
feaiful retributions of eternity. 

I have thus endeavored to establish the doctrine of the 
divine rectitude; to elucidate the ground on which we be- 
lieve that the Judge of all the earth will do right. I shall 
conclude by a practical application of the truth which has 
been established. 

A confidence in the rectitude of the divine government 
will reconcile the mind to the unexplained difficulties which 
encumber it. Many pious persons have suffered themselves 
to be perplexed with the mysteries of Providence and the 
economy of grace. There has been much speculation about 
the existence of natural and moral evil; the consistency of 
divine sovereignty with human responsibility; the eternal 
duration of future punishment; and many other questions 
which are but little helped by the most refined and attenu- 
ated speculation. These truths are plainly taught in the 
scriptures; and they demand our unqualified assent. Let us 
not vainly quarrel with the dispensations of God's providence, 
or the methods of his grace; but rather adore a wisdom 
which we cannot comprehend, and bow before a power 
which it would be folly to resist. 

A conviction of our ignorance should induce us to pro- 
nounce with caution and modest reserve upon the measures 
of the divine government. " We are of yesterday, and know 
nothing 7 Our faculties are too limited in their range to 
compass the extent o^God's moral government, and detect 
the motives which determine his procedures. His way is 



94 



The Efficacy of Prayer. 



doubtless perfect. Although "clouds and darkness are round 
about him, justice and judgment are the habitation of his 
throne." If we fail to apprehend this truth, it is solely in 
consequence of the feebleness of our minds, the imperfec- 
tion which attaches to ail finite beings. 

" All nature is but art unknown to thee, 
All chance direction which thou canst not see, 
All discord harmony not understood, 
All partial evil universal good, 
And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, 
One truth is clear : whatever is, is right." 

The truth which I have endeavored to establish, so fruitful 
of good to the believer, speaks no comfort to the sinner. It 
will fearfully augment the doom of the impenitent, that it is 
denounced in justice. Caprice may yield to circumstances, 
but principle, never. Passion may be calmed; malevolence 
may be appeased; mercy may be moved; but justice is in- 
flexible. It should be a most alarming consideration to every 
impenitent sinner, that the Judge of all the earth will do 
right. May the truth strike every such person with salutary 
terror, and induce him to flee at once for refuge to that glo- 
rious gospel which, blending mercy with justice, affords the 
only means of deliverance from the wrath to come. 



THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER: 

Outlines of a sermon by Rev. H. Keeling. 
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. — Jas. v : 16. 

Prayer belongs to the highest species of worship. It ranks 
with praise. Not only is it expressive of our dependence, 
obligation, and sinfulness: but it includes every attribute of 
devotion. It implies adoration, confession, petitio^md in- 
tercession. Our text has special reference to the last two. 

It follows, that prayerlessness is practical atheism; and 
that tfee spiiit of prayer both fits us fo? heaven, and partakes 



The Efficacy of Prayer. 



95 



of the very nature of it. The aversion of men to prayer is 
among the strongest proofs of depravity: since it comprises 
intimate and reverential intercourse between the soul and God. 

The object of this discourse is, briefly to consider — 
The character of the prayers which are efficacious; and 
the effect itself they produce. For convenience, we invert 
the order of these propositions, and inquire, — 

I. What effects do prayers produce ? Our text says, " they 
avail much." What then do they avail ? Let us under- 
stand, that we may appreciate our privileges and perform our 
duties. 

Can they change "the wilderness and solitary place" into 
a "fruitful field," or the garden of God? Have they power 
to level the mountains, or fill the vallies, that lie in the way 
of Messiah's march? Did they ever regenerate a soul, sanc- 
tify an affection, overcome a single enemy, or resist any 
temptation? No, neither.— Of themselves they are nothing, 
but they are part of a system, which, together, is "mighty" 
to the "pulling down of strongholds." 

Every part of this wise, gracious, wonderful scheme, is 
essential to the perfection of the whole. The holy life of 
Christ served its own great purposes, but did not supersede 
the necessity of his sacrificial death. The blood of atone- 
ment has its own value, but the influences of the Spirit are 
not the less necessary. The sacred scriptures make wise 
unto salvation, but they dispense not with the living minis- 
try; with church example and effort ; nor, above all, with 
divine efficiency. Our Saviour made the " belief of the 
world" to depend, among other things, upon his prayer for 
his then disciples, and their testimony to others; but surely 
he excluded not the voluntary agency of the repenting and 
believing sinner in coming to God. — John xvii: 19-21. 

It is a matter of prophecy for the conversion of the unbe- 
lieving, and of promise for the encouragement of the church, 
that the triumphs of the gospel are to be universal. "There 
shall be an handful of corn upon the tops of the mountains: 
the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." But will divine 
sovereignty effect this, without human means, or by other 
human means, to the exclusion of prayer*) It were as ra- 
tional to believe that the covenant with Noah securing, until 



the end of time, th 




ular succession of night and day, 



96 



The Efficacy of Prayer. 



summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, is to be fulfilled 
without regard to what we call "laws of gravitation." 

But not to detain you with argument or illustiation on this 
point, I proceed — 

II. To consider the character of the prayers which are 
efficacious. 

1. They are "prayers," — it is "prayer." What is prayer? 
I like Montgomery's definition of prayer: — 



It is true, that out of " the abundance of the heart the 
mouth speaketh;" but, if the tongue of the publican had 
been palsied, so that he could not have uttered the wotds 
"God be merciful to me a sinner," — or if the muscles of his 
arm had refused to obey the feelings of his heart, when " he 
smote his bieast," — there would have been real prayer in what 
he felt and desired. On the contrary, there would have 
been no prayer in the boastful panegyric pronounced upon 
himself by the proud pharisee, "God I thank thee, I am not 
as other men, nor even as this publican." 

2. It is the prayer of a "righteous man." There is a 
sense of the word "sinners," in which God heareth them 
when they pray. Otherwise, the prayer of the publican had 
not been answered. But the assertion of the man who had 
been blind from his birth, and to whom our Lord gave 
sight, — a man, who, although he could not read, knew more 
of religion than all the Sanhedrim together, — his assertion is 
true: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if 
any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he 
heareth." John ix: 31. The pharisees denounced our Lord, 
as a transgressor of God's law, because he wrought this miracle 
of mercy on the Sabbath. The logic of the happy recipient 
of this favor was as sound as was his knowledge of divine 
things. God is favorable to none but the righteous. Yet 
this man hath given me sight. Therefore he must tf^f God. 

The reasoning of David is the same. "If I regarcnniquity 
in my heart the Lord will not hear but verily the Lord 
hath ^heard me;" therefore 1 do not regard iniquity in my 



Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, 
Utter'd or unexpress'd, 
The motion of a hidden fire, 
That trembles in the breast." 




Support of the Ministry. 



97 



heart. Moreover, the theory is deduced from facts. Abra- 
ham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, Daniel, Paul, John, — all, whose 
prayers have been efficacious, — have been '•'righteous men." 

3. It is the "efiectual" or, as the word means, "laborious, 
energetic prayer," that availeth much. And the addition of 
the epithet "fervent" animated, burning, increases the in- 
tensity of the thought. 

If the repenting sinner would obtain mercy on his own 
account, he must be like the Syrophenecian woman, or the 
importunate widow, whose continual coming wearied out 
even an unjust judge, who regarded neither God nor man. 

If the spirit of piety has become languid in our souls, we 
must expect it to be rekindled when like Job we can exclaim, 
"O that it was with me as in days past, when the candle of 
the Lord shone round about me," — and resolve with Jacob, 
" We will not let thee go except thou bless me." 

If on behalf of our fiiends and others we intercede, our in- 
tercessions can avail only as we feel as Abraham did when 
suing for guilty Sodom; or Moses for more guilty Israel; or 
Paul for a still more guilty generation of that same rebel- 
lious race. 



THE VALUE OF THE MINISTER'S WORK, AN 
ARGUMENT FOR HIS SUPPORT: 

An extract from Professor Hillyer's Sermon. 

The minister's work is, however, infinitely more valuable 
than even the preceding facts would indicate. For there is 
a hereafter — death is not an eternal sleep; and the range of 
this great work reaches far beyond the confines of time. Let 
us then consider its value, in view of this important truth. 
The object which the preacher labors to accomplish, is the 
salvation of the soul. No other profession aims so high. 
The most precious thing which God has created on this earth 
is the human soul. Though marred and defaced, it still 
wears the likeness of its author. Its wonderful powers in- 
vest it with greatness, and its indestructible nature insures its 
immortality. Its capacities for happiness and misery, and its 
exposure to an infinite ruin, make it an object of intense in- 
terest. All the worlcbun the universe are as the small dust 
of the balance, competed with one immortal soul. They 



98 



Support of the Ministry. 



shall perish, but it shall endure; they shall wax old, and as 
a vesture shall the)' be changed, but, like ils author, its years 
shall have no end. Yet it is lost. I cannot pause to tell 
you how, or why. Suffice it to say, that it wanders estranged 
from God, covered with guilt and shame, with the curse of a 
holy law resting upon it. In this condition, it is doomed to 
suffer the penalties of that world, where the worm dieth not, 
and the fire is not quenched. Yes, remaining unchanged, 
the soul must go down, with all its noble faculties, into that 
lake of fire which is the second death, where there shall be 
weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and whence the 
smoke of its torment shall ascend up forever and ever. The 
great God could not look on unmoved, and see it consum- 
mate its awful destiny. His compassion went out towards 
the creature of his hands. The soul, which he had formed 
in the beauty of his own image, he loved too well, to cast 
off forever from his presence. Therefore, the scheme of re- 
demption was devised to save it. I need not detain you to 
unfold its principles, for you, my brethren, already know 
them. It will be sufficient to remind you, that while this 
scheme embraces the paramount agency of God, in the reve- 
lation of his word, in the gift of his Son, and in the opera- 
tions of his Holy Spirit, it also includes, by his own arrange- 
ment, the employment of human instrumentality. For, by 
the foolishness of preaching he is pleased to save them that 
believe. This is his most usual and successful mode of 
gathering his elect. Preaching is the lamp of gospel light 
that throws along the dark pathway of the sinner its life- 
giving beams — revealing to his knowledge, on the one hand, 
"the terrors of the Lord," and on the other, "the Lamb of 
God that taketh away the sin of the world." But preaching 
is the minister's appropriate work, and to save the soul is his 
high and holy purpose. It is not too much to say that this 
noble object is ever before him. When he reads the word of 
God, it is there to stimulate his researches; when he seeks 
his closet, it is there to burden his heart, and to bedew his 
cheeks; and when he ascends the sacred desk, behold it is 
here, to remind him of the terms of his commission, and to 
impress him with the solemnities of the coming judgment. 
Now, shall the minister who is thus engaged, be compelled 
to come away from his great work to seek for bread? Shall 
his spirit be forced back from its hold § n the soul's salvation, 
by the wants of nature and the cates of life? 



Support of the Ministry. 



99 



But let me press this subject a little nearer home. You, 
my hearers, have a deeper interest in the preacher's work, 
perhaps, than has yet occuned to you. Are your sins for- 
given? have you been washed in the fountain opened in the 
house of David for sin and uncleanness? and have you, 
therefore, a pleasant and sweet hope of heaven? If so, for 
all these you are indebted, under God, to a preached gospel. 
You may tell me, perhaps, that you are an exception — that 
you received your serious impressions from another instru- 
mentality. Allow me to ask, what other? was it a tract, or 
pious book? was it a prayer meeting or Sabbath schcol? was 
it the family altar, or a parent's counsel? or was it yet some 
other means of grace? I answer, no matter what may have 
been the particular thing, to which your impressions may be 
ascribed, you are still indebted for them to a preached gospel. 
It is true, there are other and very useful instrumentalities, but 
they are all subordinate to that one ordained of God. The 
minister's work is the source of all the rest. Nay, all others 
receive from it the vital energy that renders them efficient. 
Let this be removed, and the religious press would stand still; 
the colporteur would abandon his employment; the Sabbath 
school would close its doors; the prayer meeting w T ould be 
forsaken ; and even the sacred flame upon the family altar 
would by and by expire. The minister's work is the centre 
around which these revolve: should it be extinguished, they 
would be wrapt in darkness. Whatever, then, may have 
been the immediate cause of one's attention to his spiritual 
interests, let him not overlook his dependence upon the pub- 
lic ministrations of the word. The wayfarer may see, and 
avoid the serpent in his path by the light of the moon, but 
this he could not do, if the sun were not to shine. Hence, 
if you are able to live in hope, to die without fear, and to 
commit your body to the dust in the expectation of a glorious 
resurrection, it is because he has thrown about you the influ- 
ences of a preached gospel. In this view of the case, how will 
you value the privileges you have enjoyed? Can you make 
an adequate return to the good man by whose labors you 
have been so highly blessed? I put it to your conscience, do 
you owe him nothing? And looking away from the par- 
ticular instrument of your conversion, do you owe nothing to 
that system of means, by which you have been made the 
recipient of such abundant mercies? Should not the believer 



100 



Support of the Ministry. 



exclaim, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his ben- 
efits towards me?" Thus we may see, that the ministers 
work, by the grace of God, lias conferred upon each one of 
us a personal good of infinite value; and yet this is not all. 
We are more than personally concerned in this interesting 
work. The christian is not content to be saved alone. The 
relations of life originate the most tender associations, and 
fie most endearing ties, that wind themselves about his heart, 
and awaken the deepest sympathies of his soul. Such is 
true, for instance, of the pious parent. How intense is that 
anxiety which he feels for the salvation of his children? How 
fervent, how deep is the prayer that he offers unto God on 
their behalf? Perhaps an ungodly son is, like the prodigal, 
wasting his substance in riotous living, and running through 
the various stages of excess to ruin. Perhaps a thoughless 
daughter, spell-bound by the seductive charms of the world, 
may be intent only upon its attractive pleasuies, wholly for- 
getful of her soul and of her God. Let such a parent re- 
member that his "door of hope" for these dear children of 
his love is to be found within the compass of the preached 
gospel. This is the means that God most usually employs to 
answer the prayers of his people. Hence the practical effect 
which preaching exerts upon the eternal destiny of those 
whom we love, invests the minister's work with additional 
value. All the dear objects of our affections, however near 
to us by the ties of nature, must be separated from us forever, 
unles they can be united to us in the fellowship of Jesus 
Christ. It is to promote this union that the preacher labors. 
Suppose that he succeeds. Make the case your own, my 
brethren, suppose that he does restore to your arms as alive 
from the dead that beloved child for whom you have so long 
prayed. Can that soul be valued in dollars and cents? How 
will the paltry price, paid for the minister's services, compare 
with the benefit received? Would you not have given your 
entire fortune to insure the salvation of your child? How 
then shall we estimate the value of that work, the end, and 
aim, and effect of which is to save the soul; and how shall 
we compensate the laborer who is the instrument of confer- 
ring upon mankind such unmeasured blessings for time and 
for eternity? Compensation full and equal you cannot render. 
It would bankrupt Christendom to attempt to return an equiva- 
lent for a single soul. 



THE 

BAPTIST PKEACHER, 

New Series. July, 1847. No, 7. 



THE MAMMON OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS: 

A sermon, preached May 24, 1847, before the Virginia Portsmouth Baptist 
Association, convened in Portsmouth, Va., — and published by request of 
the Association: By Rev. J. R. Scott, pastor of the Baptist church in 
Hampton, Va. 

I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; 
that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. Luke xvi: 9. 

Two reasons have induced me, my brethren, to address • 
you from these words. First, they present to the minds of 
most readers, certain difficulties, in an attempt to solve which, 
I have thought it possible some of you might be interested 
and profited. Happy shall I be, should I succeed in so elu- 
cidating the passage as to satisfy any who have been in doubt 
as to its true meaning. But another reason has had more 
weight with me. I conceive the text calculated to convey a 
lesson of high interest and importance to us all, — a lesson 
peculiarly timely on the present occasion. God grant we 
may be enabled, not only to apprehend clearly its meaning, 
but also to carry out in practice the duty it enjoins, in such 
a way as to secure the inestimable blessing it brings to view! 
The Lord enable us all so to make to ourselves friends of 
the mammon of unrighteousness, that when we fail, they 
may receive us into everlasting habitations! 

The chief, or at least, most prominent, difficulty in this 
verse, consists, I suppose, in our Lord's exhorting his disci- 
ples to make friends to themselves by *' the mammon of un- 
righteousness;" as though they were to be tolerated, and not 
only tolerated, but approved and blessed, by unrighteous 
means. It is not suprising, when we consider how strictly 
our Lord requires his followers to maintain integrity and holi- 
ness in all their conduct, that the pious reader should shrink 
back from any such construction of his language. Surely 



102 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



he, who knew no sin, and cannot for one moment he sup- 
posed to legalize or justify sin in any of his disciples, is 
not to be understood as sanctioning in them any thing savor- 
ing of unrighteousness, even though it be avowedly for the 
attainment of the holiest and most desirable ends. This 
position may be very safely laid down, and we never need 
be afraid of applying it to the interpretation of any passage, 
whatever may be the face it may seem to carry. In regard 
to the case in hand, I hesitate not to say, the difficulty in 
question admits of a very satisfactory solution. We have the 
key so soon as we ascertain what the Saviour meant by the 
expression "mammon of unrighteousness." He evidently 
meant simply worldly possessions. Now substitute these 
words in place of "mammon of unrighteousness," and you 
will see without much trouble the idea Jesus intended to 
convey: "Make friends for yourselves by your worldly pos- 
sessions; that, when ye fail, they" (that is, these friends,) 
"may receive you into everlasting habitations." But we 
may be asked, on what grounds it is assumed that our Lord 
meant worldly possessions simply, by the expression "mam- 
mon of unrighteousness?" 

The word "mammon" itself signifies wealth. Mammon 
was the Syriac god of riches, — a heathen deity supposed to 
preside over worldly acquisitions of every kind. The name 
accordingly came to be applied to worldly goods in general, 
and was in common use in this sense when our Saviour was 
on earth. 

But why should Jesus call worldly possessions the "mam- 
mon," or goods " of unrighteousness^ This seems to 
imply that unrighteousness must in some sense be connected 
with them; and that this would be the case even in respect 
to those possessions which might come into the hands of his 
disciples. The truth is, he did not intend that so sweeping 
an inference should be drawn. He did not intend to say 
that wickedness is invariably and necessarily attached to the 
things that come into man's possession. Had this been so, 
he would have forbidden his disciples to have any thing at 
all to do with them. It is probable, from the contrast sug- 
gested by the text between them and the blessings of heaven, 
that our Loid characterized worldly goods in this manner 
particularly in distinction from the blessings of eternal life. 
No unrighteousness can pertain to the inheritance of the 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



103 



saints in " everlasting habitations;" but how true that un- 
righteousness both can be, and commonly is, connected with 
those objects which men desire and pursue on earth. Jesus 
would thus in an indirect manner suggest to our minds how 
superior are the goods of heaven to the goods of this woild ; 
and by this consideration render us the more willing to part 
with our earthly possessions for the purpose of securing that 
inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not 
away. 

The propriety, however, of worldly wealth being denomi- 
nated " the mammon of unrighteousness," must appear, 
when we consider how often it is acquired by unrighteous 
means, and how often, when acquired, it is devoted to un- 
righteous uses. 

How seldom is property accumulated by means which 
will bear a strict application of even those principles gener- 
ally admitted by men as essential to honesty and upright- 
ness? How many seek their gains at the expense of all that 
is dear in the interests of society, — seek them in such a way 
as renders them accessory to the bitterest woes that afflict 
humanity; in such a way as spreads degradation, and de- 
pravily, and brutality, and desolation, and want, and disease, 
and death, through community! How many a stoie has 
been increased at the expense of defenceless widows and 
orphans! How frequently do men practice on the ignoiance of 
others, and thus secure exorbitant profits on their merchan- 
dize and labor! How often do they take advantage of the 
particular circumstances of individuals, and make gain out 
of the straits and difficulties of their neighbors! How fre- 
quently is property diverted from its rightful heirs! How 
common is it for persons to equivocate and lie, in order to 
make their bargains a little more lucrative! How many 
scruple not to break the express commands of God, and the 
laws of the land, — desecrate the Sabbath, and gamble, and 
steal, and rob, and murder, impelled by the love of money! 
How constantly are the wages of iniquity passing from hand 
to hand! However honest and virtuous we may be our- 
selves, we can hardly put a coin into our purse, but, if it 
could give us a true and faithful history cf itself, we should 
be tempted, as lovers of right, to trample it in the dust. It 
is ours, and honestly ours; but to get that same coin in their 
clutch, a thousand hands have done deeds which might well 



104 The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



draw down the hissing bolls of heaven upon the heads of 
their perpetrators. For the sake of that coin, men have 
cheated, and lied, and perjured themselves, and gambled, 
and ground the faces of the poor ; and litigated, and quar- 
relled, and broken the Sabbath, and brutified their neighbors, 
and prostituted themselves, and robbed, and imbued their 
hands in blood, and set at defiance every dictate of virtue 
and humanity. Surely, we may well stamp on it "mam- 
mon of unrighteousness," even though guilt may not have 
been invariably incurred in its transfers. 

And then, when acquired, to what unrighteous uses are 
worldly possessions often put? How few ask, in what way 
shall I disburse these means which Providence has bestowed 
on me, so that God shall be glorified, and the happiness of 
my fellow-men promoted? How many hoard them up, 
merely that their miserly eyes may be gratified by gloating 
over them! How many part with them only on assurance 
made doubly sure of their speedy return, and that with large 
increase! How many lay them out only in the indulgence 
of their pride, vanity, and sensual appetites! To what lux- 
ury, intemperance, and prodigality, have they ministered! 
How many spend them only at the dictation of the wildest 
caprice, and often in support of the grossest errors, and of 
causes diametrically opposite to the welfare of society! 
What fearful prevalence and power have been given to the 
most pernicious and fatal schemes, through the wealth by 
which they have been advanced! What vice, what crime, 
what sin, that has debased men, blasted the most precious 
hopes of families and communities, prostrated the best gov- 
ernments, dishonored God, and sent souls to perdition, — 
what, that has not been fostered and furthered by misdirect- 
ed wealth? The riches of this world, thus far surely, have 
done more, much more, to build up the kingdom of the evil 
one than the kingdom of Immanuel; and, having been 
made to such an extent the servant of iniquity, are certainly 
treated with no injustice in being branded "the mammon of 
unrighteousness." 

But, I conclude, our Lord was led to designate worldly 
goods in this manner most especially by what he had been 
saying just befoie. Our text is the moral of a parable, — the 
parable of the dishonest steward. The steward had been 
accused of wasting the goods entrusted to him. He saw 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



105 



that he must lose his situation, and cast about him to deter- 
mine what course he should pursue in order to provide for 
himself, when this means of subsistence should be with- 
diavvn. He could not dig; to beg he was ashamed. He 
soon, however, hits upon an expedient. If his employer 
will cast him off, he will see what he can do with his em- 
ployees customers. Can I not ingratiate myself into their 
good will, and get a home among them, when I am put out of 
the stewardship? He has the means in his hands. He 
must wrong his lord, but never mind that. Here is one of 
my lord's debtors, who owes for a hundred measures of oil. 
Take thy bill, and write fifty; and remember, one good turn 
deserves another. And here is one who owes for a hundred 
measures of wheat. Take thy bill, and write eighty; and 
recollect, it was through my friendship, you escaped paying 
for the other twenty. In this way, by gratifying the avari- 
cious propensities of his lord's debtors, does he make them his 
friends, and prudently provide for himself a welcome to their 
houses in his day of want. Even his lord, we are told, com- 
mended him, "because he had done wisely." His employ- 
er himself, the greatest sufferer by his conduct, was forced to 
give him the credit of having taken a very shrewd and skil- 
ful course to provide for the future. But still it was most 
unrighteous conduct; and hardly less unrighteous on the 
part of the debtors who consented to his proposals than on 
the part of the steward himself ; and goods, in consideration 
of which men could be induced to act so iniquitously, might 
well be termed "the mammon of unrighteousness.'' With 
such an appropriation of property in mind, is it surprising 
that Jesus, in speaking of worldly goods, although with re- 
ference to a very different use of them, should still speak of 
them as "the unrighteous mammon?" 

Having thus removed what I take to be the most formida- 
ble difficulty in the passage, I pass to the explanation of 
another, which may possibly be a source of embarrassment 
to the minds of some. 

The conduct of the steward is held up for imitation. 
When our Lord said, "Make to yourselves friends of the 
mammon of unrighteous," it was as much as to say, "My 
disciples, do as that steward did." But how could the holy 
Saviour set before his followers such a pattern of dishonesty 
for their example. The simple answer is, he did not set the 



106 The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



unjust steward before them to be imitated in his whole char- 
acter, and especially in his dishonesty, but as a pattern of 
prudent foresight and provision. This was the sole point 
he would illustrate. To this only would he direct their at- 
tention. The rest of the parable was little more than mere 
drapery. It is not improbable that Jesus drew his illustration 
from some actual case familiar to his disciples. At any rate, 
it is quite certain, he no more intended to teach his disciples 
moral rectitude by the example of the unjust stewaid, than 
he did, on another occasion, to teach them the character of 
his Father by comparing the conduct of God with that of an 
unjust judge. Those who think to find for every minute 
particular in the parables of our Lord, its counterpart of in- 
struction, leaving nothing introduced by him for the simple 
purpose of exciting interest and keeping up attention, may 
display their ingenuity to great advantage; but it cannot fail 
to be very much at the cost of any just reputation for sound 
common sense. 

Jesus would say, you see how worldly men act. True, 
they are men of the world, and have their portion in this 
life ; but as far as their views extend, they act consistenly 
with those views. They look ahead; and when they see 
calamity threaten, they neglect no effort to avert it; and 
when they see any advantage to be gained, they rest not until 
every plan has been put in operation that they may reap it. 
How different the course of many who call themselves my 
followers! "The children of this world are, in their genera- 
tion, wiser than the children of light." How much care, 
how much caution, how much energy, do they bring to bear 
on the attainment of their trifling, evanescent projects, while 
you, who profess to be the expectants of eternity, — candi- 
dates for everlasting habitations in glory, — live unmindful of 
the end you have set before you, blind to the dangers that 
threaten the blasting of your hopes, indifferent and inactive 
in that whole line of conduct indispensable to the laying up 
of a good foundation against the time to come. As you 
have proposed to yourselves higher and nobler objects than 
the men of the world, so you ought to prosecute your ends 
with proportionably greater prudence and vigor than they do 
theirs; but instead of this, you exhibit the very reverse. You 
act as if your objects were, on the contrary, of less conse- 
quence than those of the children of this world. With what 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



107 



eagerness do they plan and toil for time! O how keenly 
should you feel rebuked! — you, who profess to be living for 
eternity, and yet put forth efforts so few and so feeble to at- 
tain your end ! Children of the light, learn a lesson from 
the children of darkness! Task your powers, strain every 
nerve, make any sacrifice, to gain your incorruptible inherit- 
ance, as they do to acquire the things that perish! 

You perceive, my hearers, in what respect it was, that the 
Lord proposed the unjust steward to his disciples for their 
imitation. They were not to copy his dishonesty, but they 
were to copy the forecast and the energy with which he 
made provision against the failure of his present resources. 
As he failed, so ere long must you fail. As he set himself 
to a vigorous preparation, that when he should be put out of 
his stewardship, there should be houses enough all open to 
receive him, in like manner see to it that you make such use 
of the trusts committed to you, that when ye fail, ye may 
have friends enough to welcome you, — not to perishable ten- 
ements of earth, — welcome you to everlasting habitations. 

Now, what, on the whole, is the lesson that Jesus would 
impress on the minds of his disciples by the passage under 
consideration? Very evidently, the use to which they should 
put the gifts of Providence. Every one of us to regard 
himself as a steward. In the use to which he puts his pos- 
sessions, he is to be governed supremely by the will of their 
Giver. He is to devote them to those purposes for which 
they were committed to him. It is in this way that he is to 
find his own true happiness. In this diiection lie all his real 
interests. By this means shall he at length have adminis- 
tered to him abundantly an entrance into the eveilasting 
kingdom of his Lord. In this way shall he provide himself 
bags that wax not old ; a treasure in the heavens that faileth 
not; in this way shall he obtain augmented glory, honor, 
immortality. 

But here it is important that we guard against a mistake. 
There is danger of our inferring from all this, that we are to 
be saved in heaven on the ground of our own meritorious 
works; whereas, we are most distinctly and emphatically 
told in other places, that we are saved by grace ; not of works, 
lest any man should boast; not by works of righteousness 
which we have done, but according to his mercy God saves 
us. What then, it may be asked, becomes of works? and 



108 The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



how is it that in our text our Lord connects the use we make 
of our worldly goods with our reception into everlasting hab- 
itations? This is a point, of great interest. If it is a diffi- 
cult one, it is no less interesting. Let us look at the text 
once more: "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of 
unrighteousness; that, when ye fail," — when ye have no 
more to do wiih worldly things, — "they may receive you into 
everlasting habitations." Mark that: "they may receive 
you." Who? Why, the friends you have made by the use 
to which you have put your earthly possessions. You ob- 
serve, there is no allusion here to your reception in heaven 
by God himself, but solely to your reception by those whom 
you have benefitted and blessed on earth. So far as the just 
and holy king of heaven is concerned, you are welcomed 
thither purely on the ground of the merits of his Son. The 
tremendous curse of his law must have been your doom, had 
he not given his Only Begotten that whosoever believeth in 
him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Never but 
through the meritorious obedience of that same Sen, could 
he allow the ransomed sinner to share in those pleasures 
which are at his right hand. So far as the Father is con- 
cerned, then, the sinner's admission to heaven can proceed 
only on the footing of what Christ has done. But still, 
heaven's Sovereign will see to it, that pre-eminent piety and 
faithfulness on earth be crowned with its proportionate dis- 
tinction in his presence. He has been pleased to reveal that 
we are not only to be received by him. Another reception 
awaits his faithful servants. " Blessed are the dead that die 
in the Lord!" No sooner do they rest from their labors than 
their works do follow them. According to the good we did 
on earth, will be the glory of our introduction on high. If 
any considerable time was allotted us in the vineyard of the 
Lord before our removal, and we toiled faithfully in his ser- 
vice, it is altogether probable that others have gone home 
before us, who were converted, or built up in piety, or re- 
lieved and comforted in times of trial, or ? at least, in some 
respect benefitted by our instrumentality. Some of them 
perhaps we never saw on earth. It may be they were sepa- 
rated from us thousands of miles; but the mite we cast into 
the Lord's treasury, with a prayer that the Lord would make 
it a blessing, sent a Bible, or a tract, or a preacher, to them, 
and a happy eternity is the glorious result. And now they 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness, 



]09 



recognize our ascending spirit as that of their earthly bene- 
factor, and all wing their way to congratulate us on our 
release from earth, and escort us,« — a resplendent convoy, — 
to the throne of God and of the Lamb. O how delightful 
must it be to be received thus to everlasting habitations! 
But however this may be, — let it be that we are removed 
first, — recognitions and greetings no less delightful, and re- 
wards no less deserving of our aspirations, await us. " What," 
exclaims an apostle to his brethren, " what is our hope, or joy, 
or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our 
Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?" What an incitement this to 
self-denying, self-sacrificing usefulness! How cheerfully, in 
anticipation of such a welcome, should we lay our offerings upon 
the altar of God and of humanity ! How ought selfishness to 
die within us at such a prospect; or rather, how must an en- 
lightened self-love itself impel us to deeds of beneficence 
and mercy, — to the most energetic devotion of ourselves to 
the welfare of our fellow-men, both for time and for eternity ! 

I have thus, my friends, endeavored to explain this pas- 
sage, and remove the difficulties it presents. I hope its 
meaning has been made apparent to all who have felt suffi- 
ciently interested to follow me in the explanations that have 
been offered. It is an important passage, — important as a 
portion of the instructions of the Great Teacher; important, 
as disclosing a duty of high moment; important, as reveal- 
ing a most stirring incitement to constant fidelity in the way 
of christian obedience. O that all who bear the christian 
name would set it to heart, and reduce it to practice! What 
an aspect would the church of Christ then assume! How 
apparent would be her destination to everlasting habitations! 
How rapidly would the ignorance, and errors, and vices, and 
woes of mankind disappear! How speedily would the truth, 
with all its train of light, and love, and gladness, have free 
course, run, and be glorified ! 

The views presented have shewn in what sense the goods 
of this world may be termed "the mammon of unrighteous- 
ness." It is not that they are in themselves evil. It is not 
money itself, or what money will procure, but the love of 
money, that scripture declares to be the root of all evil. The 
mischief lies in an avaricious or a covetous disposition. 
Urged on by this, we seek gain regardless of the happiness 
and the rights of our fellow-men ; and we disburse of our 
15 



110 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



acqusitions with reference solely to selfish and ignoble ends. 
Our heavenly Father has been pleased to make labor for 
worldly gain not only lawful but binding. Industry, and 
enterprise, and economy, are christian virtues. Laziness, 
and indifference, and shiftlessness, and extravagance, are de- 
nounced as vices. We are to provide for " things honest," 
(Rom. xii: 17,) not only in the sight of the Lord, but "in 
the sight of all men." The original word here rendered 
44 honest," means literally, beautiful. The least we can make 
of it is, decent and respectable. How could indolence be 
more decidedly condemned than it has been by the pen of 
inspiration? Hear the wise man: "I went by the field of 
the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of under- 
standing; and lo! it was all grown over with thorns, and 
nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall 
thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it 
well; I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little 
sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 
so shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, and thy want 
as an armed man." This is a scripture portrait. Whether 
it is for imitation, let each one judge for himself. And hear 
an apostle: " Study to be quiet, and to do your own busi- 
ness, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded 
you; that ye may walk honestly towards them that are with- 
out, and that ye may have lack of nothing." Surely if all 
this is the duty of christians, it cannot be that unrighteous- 
ness is necessarily connected with the results of labor; it 
cannot be absolutely unlawful to acquire worldly possessions. 
In what manner we should disburse them, however, and 
how far we are at liberty to retain them, are practical ques- 
tions of solemn moment. Doubtless, great mistakes are 
made here. The danger of error and sin can hardly be 
overstated. Already, it would seem, enough has been ex- 
hibited to check us at this point of peril, and impel us in the 
right direction. But we are not yet done with the text. 
Another consideration, thus far kept in the back-ground, is 
well suited to furnish a powerful preventure. 

The text reminds us further of an important fact, always 
to be borne in mind in our pursuit of gain. "When ye 
fail." We know not when, but it is certain we must fail. 
The day is coming when our resources, whatever they may 
be, must give way, — all of them. It will be to the rich man 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. Ill 



the same as if he were poor. His riches, when he least ex- 
pects it, may take to themselves wings and fly away. He 
may fail of them long before his departure from earth, and 
find himself left to struggle for bread beside that neighbor, 
and as hard as that neighbor, on whom once, in his purse- 
pride, he looked down with contempt, and whom he could 
hardly regard as of the same species with himself. Even 
before his coffers are emptied, he may fail at many points. 
There are many things that money cannot buy. It cannot 
buy intellect for an idiot's head. It cannot buy back wasted 
time and mis-spent opportunities. It cannot buy freedom 
from the chains of vicious and destructive habit. It cannot 
buy real respectability. It cannot buy the love and honor 
of our fellow-men. It cannot buy prosperity and worth 
for our children. It cannot buy a happy home. It cannot 
bribe inexorable death, and summon back to our desolate 
abodes the loved and lost. It cannot buy youth for age, 
ease for pain, health for disease. It cannot buy self-control 
for the passionate, sweetness for the unamiable, cheerfulness 
for the hypocrondriac, a peaceful conscience for the guilty. 
It cannot buy pardon for the sinner. It cannot buy the 
favor of our final Judge. It takes more than money to get 
these things. The choicest blessings of life come, after all, 
without money and without price. If we have nothing else 
to give, we shall be much more likely to get just the contrary. 

Bui the text clearly refers to our failure at death. Our 
funds, and farms, and buildings, and stocks, may continue 
and thrive, but they shall continue and thrive no more for 
us. They cannot purchase exemption from the shaft of 
mortality. Our failure will be as complete as that of the 
poorest pauper, whose very grave is the gift of charity. "A 
man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that 
he possesseth." Our inward thought may be, that our 
houses shall continue forever, and our dwelling-places to all 
generations. We may call our lands after our own names. 
Nevertheless, man being in honor abideth not. Like sheep 
they are laid in the grave; they leave their wealth to others; 
the places that know them must soon know them no more, 
forever. What a picture of vanity ! Is this all? Is it only 
for this we are to live? Is it only for this we are to rise up 
early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness? 
If this be all, miserable men that we are! Is no other and 



112 The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 



nobler object presented before us, to stimulate our industry 
and enterprise? 

Yes — thank God ! — yes. Does not our text teach us that 
in laboring for the things of time, we are to have in view a 
still higher end? By our present possessions we are to make 
to ourselves friends against the day of our failure, — friends 
who shall welcome us to everlasting habitations. We are 
to labor, not for the meat that perisheih, but for that meat 
which endureth unto eternal life. While we make suitable 
provision for ourselves, and for others dependent on us, we 
are to be careful how we restrict the purpose of our acquisi- 
tions to mere provision for ourselves and households. Our 
needy neighbors are to share with us. "Sell that ye have, 
and give alms; provide yourselves bags that wax not old, a 
treasure in the heavens that fadeth not, where no thief ap- 
proaeheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your trea- 
sure is, there will your heart be also." Nor is it made less 
imperative on us to attend to the spiritual than the bodily 
necessities of our fellow-men. We are to hold forth the 
word of life. We are to carry out, each one according to 
his respective ability, the great commission of the Redeemer 
to his church: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the 
gospel to every creature." We are to withhold no good from 
from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of our 
hand to do it. 

There is one grand, comprehensive, solemn truth, which 
must govern us in the entire regulation of our lives. Our 
Lord propounds it in the immediate connection of the text. 
"Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Think of it, my 
brethren. What did your Saviour mean? What was the 
least he could have meant? — Judge ye. Remember the 
young man who went running and kneeling to Jesus, and 
earnestly asked, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit 
eternal life?" Sincere and earnest as he seemed, Jesus de- 
termined to test the strength of his desire; and placed before 
him the alternative, sell your property, and give it to the 
poor, and come follow me. He must do this, or he could 
not have eternal life. He went away sorrowful. He could 
not stand the test. He wished for eternal life, but not at the 
expense of his possessions. With him it was — eternal life 
and the world ; with Christ it was — eternal life or the world : 
take your choice. And did the Saviour require any more of 



The Mammon of Unrighteousness. 113 



that young man, — one so amiable that he could not help 
loving him, — any more, my brethren, than he requires of us? 
To all intents and purposes, he demanded the same. The 
truth is, the heart must, first of all, be surrendered. It is a 
sober question, and calls for profound self-examination, have 
1 in fact given my heart to the Lord? If you can answer 
this question in the affirmative, mammon is no longer your 
God. You do not consider yourself as your own. You say, 
here, Lord, I am ; speak, for thy servant heareth; do with 
me and mine as shall seem good in thy sight. " Teach me 
to do thy will; for thou art my God; thy Spirit is good: lead 
me into the land of uprightness." Your ear is open to every 
call of suffering, and destitute, and benighted humanity. 
The thought of having something to lay on God's altar 
nerves your arm with double strength. You thank God that 
if you can do nothing more, you can make money for his 
service. If he has not given you a talent to preach, he has, 
at least, given you a talent to support the means of grace. 
If you cannot yourself be a missionary, you can do some- 
thing to send forth to lire perishing the herald of salvation. 
If you cannot write and print, you can do something to put 
in operation the mighty press, and to help circulate the leaves 
of the tree of life. And in not a few ways you can, and 
will evince that your choice in the alternative, God or mam- 
mon, is, beyond dispute, the magnanimous decision of Joshua, 
u As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord." 

Happy man ! little do you now know of the blessedness 
of your choice! Happy woman! casting in your two mites! 
it seems so small a contribution, that you blush as you throw 
it in, and almost doubt whether it be worth the while to be- 
stow so poor a trifle ! — But you are determined to do what 
you can. Take courage! an eye is resting on the treasury 
that has noted your gift. That same eye traces the sparrow 
in his flight; and numbers every hair of your head. HE 
will see that those two poor mites fulfill an illustrious mis- 
sion, and after many days, return to gladden you with the 
report of their doings. Delightful prospect! Soon these 
places shall know you no more; but friends enough shall 
welcome you to everlasting habitations. Soon heart and 
llesh shall fail you; but God shall be the strength of your 
heart, and your portion forever. 



114 Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 



MORAL CULTURE, ESPECIALLY IN YOUTH: 

A sermon, preached Tuesday, June 15, 1847, before the Virginia Baptist 
Sunday School and Publication Society, by Rev. David Shaver, pastor 
of the Grace Street church, Richmond, Va. 

These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart : Aid thou 
shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, 
and when thourisest up. — Deut. vi: 6, 7. 

We may say of christian truth, as Hooker said of law, 
" her seat is the bosom of God; her voice the harmony of 
the world." A right knowledge of her is fellowship with 
Jehovah, and her light the life of men. Wisely, therefore, 
spake one of her noblest witnesses, in his declaration, that to 
the sacrifice of a single lesson gathered from her lips he 
should prefer, if it were possible, the loss of four hundred 
heads. # Her's are utterances which are not to die. The 
Holy Ghost, which gave them forth from mortal mouth, de- 
signed that they should live and reign upon the earth, what 
time their authors, or as I should say their instruments, had 
perished and passed away forever. No doctrine gushing be- 
neath her rod, but in the wilderness of the world shall prove 
a fountain, by which love and purity and hope shall dwell 
with song, and point aloft to the glorious heavens, — their 
home — her's — our's. 

In this chapter, Moses renews the universal and unchange- 
able law, which confirms and embraces every other spiritual 
commandment, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one 
Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." He pub- 
lished this injunction, under the serious and sublime convic- 
tion that his words, greater than himself, must survive him. 
Hence the precept of the text, which would secure them, in 
peipetual memory, to the two classes of society: to the adult 
and the youthful ; to those in whom moral character had 
taken its maturity, and those in whom it had not yet emerged 
from its initial and formation state. With regard to the for- 
mer, — as the result of personal study, these words were to be 
"written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: 
not on tables of stone, but on fleshy tables of the heart." 



* The language of Luther in respect of his article on faith. 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 1 1 5 



To the latter, — in prayerful reliance upon hallowed and hal= 
lowing influence, they were to be taught diligently. The 
translation here covers over a striking figure of the original. 
"Thou shah whet or sharpen them to thy children;" shalt 
make them keen and piercing; shalt give edge and point to 
them. In what manner, however, may human agency im- 
part potency and effect to the truths which sanctify, and must 
therefore be divine? Only by the frequency with which we 
bring them into contact with mind, and subject it to their 
simple unadulterate force, which has all genuine power in 
itself, and suffers loss from combination with any form of 
strength distinct from its own. Upon this principle, the in- 
spired legislator added, "Thou shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thine house and when thou walkest by the way, 
when thou liest down and when thou risest up." 

The general theme, then, suggested by this passage, and 
by the design of the Society at whose request I appear be- 
fore you, is — Moral Culture, especially in the earlier stages 
of life, through truth revealed from heaven. And, oh thou 
Holy Ghost ! who art the great Educator of the conscience and 
the heart; of whom wisdom is but the echo or the shadow; 
to whom it belongeth to edit the hidden volume of character, 
in prospect of the hour which shall disclose it, amidst the 
lights of eternity, to the inspection of the universe — illumine, 
we beseech thee, the opaque and clouded eyes which now 
essay to penetrate a subject in all its depths open to thee alone ! 

Permit me, my brethren, to introduce the discussion of the 
topic before us, with a few words spoken to — 

I. The peculiar importance of religious know- 
ledge TO THE HIGHEST DIGNITY, HAPPINESS AND VIRTUE 
OP MANKIND. 

Knowledge, indeed, is not the "wing wherewith we fly to 
heaven;" but it is no inferior muscle in the power by which 
that wing is nerved for its flight and guided through it. Its 
general value, no reflections of yours will question, no lan- 
guage of mine can enforce. If to put out the eyes were an 
expedient conducive to its acquisition, where is the voice 
which would affirm, that the sage of antiquity, who, with 
this view, destroyed his own vision,* sought it at a price too 
costly? 



*Such is the common, but perhaps inaccurate, anecdote of Democritus, 



116 



Moral Culture., especially in Youth, 



The political tendencies of the age, nay, of the race, aug- 
ment the interest with which this subject clothes itself, in 
what aspect soever we look upon it. The night of oppres- 
sion melts into the dawn of liberty, which shall yet shine, 
more and more, unto universal day. Power is passing from 
the few to the many: — passing never to return. Society is 
thrown, finally, for good or for evil, into the hand of the masses. 
The people now assert the right to institute, to modify, and 
to abolish governments; which is, in effect to claim for them- 
selves a supreme authority incompetent to limit or to alienate 
its functions. Shall the multitude, now first rising to the 
helm of the world's destiny, be fitted to steer along its peril- 
ous track with cleared and faithful eye? Shall the guide 
run astray through his own blindness? Shall the protector 
become a victim by self-immolation? When every arm is 
extended to grasp the reins, shall the popular mind of the 
nations be obscured by ignorance — envenomed with prejudice 
— -bewildered by misthought — fired or flooded with error? — 
Upon the prospective career of our own country, this inquiry 
presses its extremes! urgency. Here, through the great influx 
of immigration, population increases upon a scale which 
overflows all European proportions. It is difficult to define 
or to trace the process, which shall ultimately fuse these hete- 
rogeneous elements into affinity and mutual character. In 
this crisis, the star of promise which sheds the most fixed and 
brilliant light over the highway, upon which ourselves and 
our children must journey, is — the general diffusion of in- 
telligence. 

What, then, — I cannot stifle the question, — what is the 
nature of that intelligence, the benign influence of which, 
like the dew of Israel, is to rest upon the regained paradise of 
human holiness and felicity ? In this presence, I place the 
seal of fervid approbation upon classic and scientific lore. I 
confess to little fear of that which antiquated Dr. Donne 
styles " the worst voluptuousness, an hydroptic immoderate 
desire of human languages and learning." But these things, 
alone, are the mere "green tree." They lack a corner-stone. 
Life is the nursery of immortality. Nay, more; amidst the 
storms of this world, the only anchor which can preserve 
virtue and peace from wreck, is cast within the world to 
come. Moral truth, therefore, is indispensable to man. It 
is so if we look no farther than the present existence, ere yet 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth, 117 



the spirit is unhoused of its earthly clay. In default of this, 
there can be no genial and thorough development of 

" The wish to know — the endless thirst, 
"Which even by quenching is awaked, 
And which becomes or blessed or cursed, 
As is the fount whereat 'tis slaked." 

With it, the tree of knowledge is rendered that of life. 
These positions can scarcely be stated with too great latitude. 
The most elegant essayist of the day* declares that nine- 
tenths of the calamities which have befallen the human race, 
have had no other origin than the union of high intelligence 
with low desires. During the reign of terror in France, — 
when that ill-starred land was ravaged by " whatever is most 
obscene in vice and most dreadful in ferocity," — when three 
millions of our species, with no disastrous stroke of heaven, 
perished from the earth, in the pitiless carnage of ten years,— 
even then, intellectual cultivation was in the ascendant ; men 
sought the loftier walks of science ; and philosophy grew 
everywhere to be a household word. Lavoisier and La Place 
shone upon the w T orld from the same firmament, and in the 
same hour with Danton and Robespierre. Mireabeau and 
Condorcet beamed and burned alike in the political and lit- 
erary constellations. That horrific era of humiliation to 
man, — that interval of chaos between the closing night of 
superstition and the earlier dawn of the latter-day glory, — 
that charnel-sewer of crime, for the blood of which inflexi- 
ble justice not yet abates its inquisition, — was the age of 
mind, divorced from religious knowledge, but peerless in all 
other. ; Twere well we be lessoned by it, to account truth 
revealed from heaven, the salt of the world's salt, and the 
light of the world's light. — It is alliance with that truth, "the 
eclipse and glory of all knowledge," which ennobles every 
other form of mental illumination. Its superior consequence 
appears from the testimony of those who place under levy 
to it all the treasures of eiudition. Writes Sir Matthew Hale, 
" I carried along with me in all my studies this grand design: 
namely, to improve them and the knowledge acquired by 
them for the honor of God's name and the greater discovery 
of his wisdom, power and truth. So I translated my secular 



* Macaulay. 

16 



118 Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 



learning into an improvement of divine knowledge." It is 
thus, oh spirit of thought and research! thou fulfillest thine 
office, — when thou bringest man to the feet of Jehovah and 
leavest him there to hear a language thou canst not speak, 
and to ponder revelations thou canst not unfold. There, my 
brethren, only there, Truth, the divine optician, provides for 
us those glasses, through which though we must see but dark- 
ly, we may still see accurately and constrainingly, the law of 
duty, the loveliness of virtue, the path of life, the far-off 
land, and the King's beauty. The feet which are not found 
pressing thither in patient, repeated pilgrimage, look ye for 
them among the ways of error which take hold upon death. 

I pass to a second stage of the subject open to our medita- 
tion, and ask you to lament with me — 

II. The fearful defect of religious knowledge, 

EVEN IN THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST. 

Our natural ignorance of spiritual things betrays itself, by 
tokens too marked and too numerous to escape note. There 
settle and hang around every of us, the shadows of 

"That eclipse which intercepts truth's heavenly beams, 
And chills and darkens the wide-wandering soul." 

To scatter this profound obscurity, God will not teach us by 
inspiration, where we may learn by study. He will com- 
mand the sun of his wisdom to shine, only when the lamp of 
inquiry fails to guide our steps. The doctrines which come 
up, in grand and solemn majesty, before the clear mirror of 
reflection, we shall be privileged to behold in it alone. 
Would we possess spiritual understanding, therefore, we must 
incline our ears, yea, must apply our hearts, unto her. We 
must receive her words and hide her commandments with 
us. We must lift up our voice for her. We must seek her 
as silver, and search for her as for hid treasure. We must 
watch daily at her gates, waiting at the posts of her doors. 
To the attentive and teachable spirit, alone, she "syllables 
men's" characters, God's purposes, time's trial, eternity's 
awards. 

The truth, however, draws nigh to the unregenerate man 
with rebuke and scourge. Hence, he gives back to it frown 
for frown, and for correction hatred. This enmity interposes 
perpetual check to the acquisition of sacred knowledge. It 
locks and bars against it the guest-chamber, free to all things 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 119 

else. It spake out unbiushingly in the hackneyed motto 
of scholars, orators and journalists, " Henceforward the dis- 
cussions of science are to be completely separated from reli- 
gion." Frightfully has every form of literature kept this 
pledge. The wisdom of men has not yet learned to sit at 
the feet of Christ. When the church is dependent upon the 
world for the higher grades of learning, it is as it was when 
the Philistines commanded that there should be no smith 
throughout all the land of Israel, lest the Hebrews should 
make them swords and spears; when every man went down 
to the uncircurncised to sharpen his share and his coulter and 
his axe and his mattoc ; and when it came to pass in the day 
of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear in the hand 
of any of the people. Minds purged from carnal drosSj must 
arise, to imbue the popular philosophy and poetry with a 
higher, and, for this cause, an humbler, spirit than that which 
now animates them. In this view, we hail with pleasure 
the institution and efficient management of Publication 
Societies, by all evangelical sects. Our own denomina- 
tion, if not apostate to its high trusts, will keep pace with the 
most athletic and unwearying rival, whose emulous foot-prints 
mark this track of light. Let Philadelphia and Charleston 
concur to prepare for posterity a sanctified literature ; to en- 
rich mankind with "divinity, not of the last edition, but the 
best;" to rear the standard of the Christian, against all the 
floods of scepticism ; and to send forth every principle of the 
Baptist with 

" A written label on its wing 
'Twere hard to read amiss." 

The defect of religious knowledge, in a milder, but a terrible 
measure, spreads its cloud over the u congregations of faithful 
men," though in their midst " the word of God be preached 
and the sacraments duly administered." Ondhis point, an 
eminent divine of our own country* rings the alarm, in the 
following mark-worthy sentence: " It is true, to a great ex- 
tent, that, throughout all the divisions of the christian world, 
intellect has taken but comparatively little hold of the sub- 
ject of religion!" — From the structure of the globe, when a 
ship is seen at sea the sails first heave in sight; that which 
is highest breaks earliest on the view. With respect to the 



* H. B. Bascombe, D. D. 



120 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 



soul, however, the vision always grovels. The low meets it 
and engrosses it. The highest is last to be noticed. Of this 
inconsideration, the noxious seeds grow even in the soil of 
the church. Israel may not know. Not until the Lord had 
spoken unto Samuel three times, did Eli perceive that the 
voice which filled the ear of the child came from above. So 
slow are believers to "bosom up" holy "counsel." There 
are times when a David, in folly and ignorance, may be as a 
beast before God. 

America has been burdened with a seven-fold portion of 
this reproach. According to a foreign wriier, whose works 
will " make the age to come his own," we have espoused 
Christianity without investigation, and "religion itself reigns 
here, much less as a doctrine of revelation than as a commonly 
received opinion."* Foibearing to decide the exact limits 
within which facts will sustain the denial of such a charge, 
in every quarter the emblazonry of ignorance strikes the most 
partial eye with conviction. 

Heresy holds extensive sway. Full many a breach in the 
dykes of "sound words" allows the floods of error to rush in 
upon us. The Bride, the Lamb's wife, often becomes a 
nursing mother to dogmas, springing from the unnatural em- 
braces of carnal reason and the demoness superstition. 
Hands, which profess commission from the Father of lights, 
throw the pure vestures of truth over doctrines, first baptized 
in the font of Grecian philosophy, afterward confirmed at 
the altar of German metaphysics. 

These things are not infrequently displaced by a mere 
parrot orthodoxy. Thousands who never doubted because 
they never enquired, pursue the path of the Fathers, neither 
asking why nor knowing whither. They are prompt in the 
utterance of a denominational Shibboleth: — but the "echo 
in the valley repeats what has been spoken, yet comprehends 
not what it says." How can they gather the sheaves of 
thought from the harvest field of faith, meanwhile ignorant 
of the incorruptible seed from which they rose, and of the 
inherent excellence which parts them from the tares that 
grow around them? Oh, seldom we strike the vein of in- 
telligent piety. Partially do those permit the bandage to be 
removed from their eyes, who nevertheless contend earnestly 



* M. De Tocqueville, in his " Democracy in America." 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 121 



for the faith once delivered to the saints: earnestly, but not 
wisely. To multitudes we must cry, Ye are dull of hearing. 
When for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need 
that one teach you again which be the first principles of the 
oracles of God. Ye are unskilful in the word of righteous- 
ness. Ye are become such as have need of milk and not of 
strong meat. Ye aie babes. 

Whence shah hope arise upon this gross darkness, " as 
light through the windows of morning?" Is there no power 
to break from another generation the chain riveted upon us? 
I now approach the point to which you have doubtless pre- 
ceded me, and propose, as a third article of inquiry, — 

III. The period op life, at which religious know- 
ledge HAS THE RICHEST PROMISE, OP RECEPTION IN ITS 
PURITY, AND OP IMPRESSION THROUGH ITS EFFICACY. 

The thoughts first struck out in infancy, childhood and 
youth, the propensities indulged, the principles established, 
are permanently moulded into the character. They are the 
levers that move, that elevate or lower, it, ever afier. They 
are its debasing alloy, or its refining gold. An old lady, who 
was asked whether she had known Home Tooke when a 
boy, replied, " No. He never was a boy. With him there 
was no interval between chilhood and age.' He became a 
man all at once upon us." No one is ever a boy, in the 
sense in which that term is tacitly understood, as implying 
the absence of character.* "Even a child is known by his 
doings." Our earliest years write on the fleshly tablet as 
with heated iron ; and the brand burns in so far it cannot be 
effaced — it becomes part of ourselves. — This truth has been 
stated in a directly opposite form of expression, " When we 
understand ourselves, we find we are children forever. "f 
The thread which runs through life is woven in the " very 
May-morn " of existence, and dyed then to the color it never 
loses. " The child is father to the man." At the most ju- 
venile stage, the fountain of character has already sent out its 
waters ; and they must continue to flow. It is the sentiment 
of Marcus Aurelius, " That which one calls man, that is to 
say, the moral man, is formed perhaps at ten years of age. 
He who has not thus been formed upon his mother's knees, 

* " The mistress of a school of industry said to a lady lately, 4 There are 
no children noiv P ' ' Men are beginning to see this matter aright. 

t Alfien, 



122 Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 



will feel it a heavy misfortune throughout his life. Nothing 
can stand in the place of such an education." That which 
seizes our dawn of being wins all to itself. The Alpha of 
life bespeaks the complexion of its Omega. Affections, 
opinions and pursuits are to the mind, then, not as the image 
upon the mirror, which fades away without a trace, but as 
the daguerrian likeness, which, fixed in a moment, endures, 
exact and indelible, forever. The intellectual marble as- 
sumes its form and hue: nor will it change from its symme- 
try or misproportion, its deformity or loveliness. 

" Mind, through life's labyrinth, holds fast the clue 
That education gives it, false or true." 

When the tender f nd fragile blade first struggles into light, 
in it lie the distinctive qualities which afterwards rise into the 
nightshade or the rose. Poison is there; or beauty: not to 
receive chaiacter from development — but to give character to 
it. — Is not the fable that the infancy of Romulus and Iiemus 
derived nourishment from a wolf, a mere poetic exhibition 
and embellishment of the idea, that ferocity so extreme as 
theirs giew from potent early influence? Had the mother of 
Caesar lived to rear him, how different might not his history 
have been ! He who was a warrior, " shedding seas of gore," 
might have been a philanthropist; and, as such, might have 
slain more evils with his benevolence, than he slew foemen 
with his steel. The hero might have been a sage, with a 
self-denial whose power in conquering the heart, is more glo- 
rious than the valor which can conquer the world. 

Mirth-moved, thoughtless, pigmy childhood! I reverence 
thee. Upon thy heart-leaves I read futurity in frontispiece 
and index. Thy bosom glows to the kindling fires of science, 
of empire, of a pure faith, and of an enraptured immortality. 
I put forth my hand to thee, — I would grasp with less awe 
an angel's crown and twirl it in my fingers. Thou art the 
seraph, — whose wing I may weaken and soil, and cast into 
the dust to rise no more. Whoso moves thee, effectually, to 
righteousness and truth, achieves a nobler work than if his 
voice might change from its sphere the woild we tread on. 

The premature origin and lapid growth of vice in child- 
hood and youth, illustrate the peculiar facility with which, 
at that period of life, impressions multiply themselves and 
principles ascend to confirmation and sovereignty. Licen- 



Moral Culture, especially in Youth. 



123 



tiousness and crime may usurp the heart, may sway it, when 
still " as smooth as Hebe's the unrazored lip." From a state- 
ment of the number of youthful offenders taken into custody 
by the London police, 1S45 * you will be shocked to see the 
alarming rates at which guilt waxes with years. Of females, 
there were arrested under 10 years of age, only 19 — at 10 and 
under 15, 167 — at 15 and under 20, 1,448: — an increase 70 
fold! Of males, there were anested under 10 years of age, 
but 50 — at 10 and under 15, 1,557— at 15 and under 20, 
4,658: — an increase 90 fold! — So certain, so speedy, so 
exuberant the harvest from the seed cast into the heart's 
virgin soil. 

These general principles are but partially affected, whether 
by the grateful exceptions which appear upon the records, of 
divine mercy, or by the melancholy exceptions which appear 
upon the records of human depravity. In our early years 
the.mind is at once tender and tenacious. It is susceptive of 
the most diversified impressions, and retains them through 
the long lapse of life, with a distinctness and force great 
beyond our belief. The voices to which we give heed then, 
ring always in the ear, "as a trumpet heard at night." 
Without question, therefore, this is the period at which we 
should seek to enstamp upon the moral nature the grand and 
influential principles of spiritual truth. It is of infinite con- 
cernment that we neglect not so auspicious an era. Innu- 
merable examples beckon us on in this line of duty, and put 
the face of hope upon vigorous, prayerful effort. The sin- 
gular unction of the ministry, and the unsullied purity of the 
life, of Annesley, excite no surprise, when we learn that he 
read twenty chapters of the Bible every day, from his sixth 
or seventh year. A Lois and a Eunice gave to the gospel a 
Timothy; for, through them, he knew the holy scriptures 
from a child. Until six years of age, Dwight often perused 
the inspired narratives and detailed them to his mother; — a 
habit which ennabled him, at all times, to summon their mi- 
nutest incidents to his eye. Doubtless, it ministered no trivial 
service, to his subsequent faith, as a christian —to his accuracy 
and evangelism, as the author of a system of theology, which 
has converted British prejudice into applause. The descrip- 



* See an article on " The London Ragged Schools," London Quarterly- 
Review, December, 1846. 



124 



Moral Culture , especially in Youth. 



ticn of the angel in the tenth chapter of the Revelations of 
John, read' by Sir William Jones, when but four or five years 
old, shone before him through life, in those colorsof memory 
which will not fade. A mother in England was accustomed 
to take with her, into devotional retirement, her son. On one 
occasion of severe distress, when he was only six years of 
age, after frequently kneeling by his side during a single day, 
she said in her agony, "Pray for me, my child. Christ suf- 
fers little children to come unto him, and forbids them not." 
Who was that boy ? Does it give you astonishment to hear 
that it was the holy, the heavenly-minded Leigh Richmond ? 
" Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." " Train 
up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he 
will not depart from it." 

Let us learn these lessons from the Jew. It was a tradi- 
tion of the elders, that in the days of the Messiah, children 
and babes should have knowledge of divine things. 

Let us learn these lessons from the Heathen. Enangered 
Brahmins vexed the ears of Baptist missionaries, with frequent 
complaints, that, by the school and the printing press, the 
gospel was instilled into the Hindoo mind from infancy. 

Let us learn these lessons from the Infidel. A sceptic, — 
when the reason why he refused the attendance of his child- 
ren upon the Sabbath school, was demanded, — made this 
memorable response, "They are taught there what they 
never forget." 

Shall the Christian be the last to learn these lessons? 
Must we continue to pour forth the lamentation of Foster, 
"Education always appears to me as the one thing which, 
taken generally, is the most vilely managed on earth?" Will 
the church, in zeal and knowledge, consult the issue for 
which God ordained to the mass of adult mind its influence 
over the mass of youthful mind? Shall "the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord" prepare our offspring for a higher 
intelligence, a nobler piety, a more efficient usefulness, than 
ours? To these inquiries the answer, of most abundant 
promise, is — The Sabbath School! May faithfulness, 
self-denial and prayer bring all the servants of God into this 



* " If there be any hope of the amendment of a wicked, miserable, and 
distracted world, it must be mostly done by family-religion and the chris- 
tian education of youth." — Baxter. 



Note, by the Editor. 



125 



this nursery of Zion, to dress it and to keep it. Press on, 
ye humble, laborious followers of Christ. 

My brethren, 1 am an earnest believer in the reality and 
the power of early piety. Did not Josiah begin to seek after 
the God of David, his father, when sixteen years of age? 
Was uot Pearce, at the same date, effectually turned to the 
Author of salvation? Were not the solemn impressions of 
Ryland written on the heart in his thirteenth year, while his 
baptism upon a profession of A ith occurred in his fourteenth? 
Did not Davies set out upon the heavenward journey when 
about twelve years old? Did not Spener, from that period, 
walk with habitual caution before the piercing eyes of Him 
with whom we have to do? Were not the foundations of 
the piety of Wilberforce laid between the age of nine and 
twelve, by the ardent devotion of an aunt with whom he re- 
sided after his father's death ? Was it not in his tenth year 
that Prancke asked his mother for a little room, which he 
might call his own, and in which he might give himself to 
prayer without interruption? Did not Stephen Chapin, at 
eight or nine years of age, according to his judgment in ma- 
ture life, become the subject of converting grace? Has not 
Fletcher testified that he " first felt the love of God shed 
abroad in his heart at seven years of age?" Did not the 
mother of the "almost infant" Origen, find it necessary to 
conceal his clothes to prevent his departure from home for 
voluntary martyrdom ? Was not John the Baptist filled 
with the Holy Ghost, even from the womb? Oh God! we 
will teach thy words diligently to our children, hopeful of 
their adoption by thee. 

" Now, in thy youth, beseech of Him 
Who giveth, upbraiding not, 
That his light in thy heart become not dim, 

And his love be unforgot ; 
And thy God, in the darkest of days, will be 
Greenness, and beauty, and strength to thee !"" 



The subject discussed in the preceding pages is of import 
beyond the power of language to express or imagination to 
conceive. Its own image and superscription are impressed . 
17 



126 



Note, by the Editor. 



certainly and indelibly, by every antecedent generation upon 
the character of its consequent: especially is this true in 
morals. It is no valid objection to this principle, that society 
may improve, or that it may wax worse and worse ; since the 
philanthropic on the one hand, and the ring-leaders of wick- 
edness on the other, may be supposed to do beyond their pro- 
portion of effort. 

The lessons deducible from these premises, so clearly stated 
and so amply defended in this little sermon, might fill many 
volumes, justly claiming to be faithfully studied by both 
classes — the adult and the minor. Most of these we shall 
pass over, and many reserve for larger space, and longer time. 
Now, we would urge, this one only, that our little pupils, 
and audiences of them, are those that promise the richest 
reward for works of faith and labors of love: a principle the 
very opposite of that almost universally sanctioned both in 
theory and practice. The ablest advocate is employed to 
defend the fortunes of the child; and the most skitfull phy- 
sician to guard his health; but his moral training is confided 
to mercenary and ignorant domestics, and his general educa- 
tion, for his first ten years, to those whose qualifications, or 
rather utter want of them, render them incompetent for any 
responsible employment whatever. In architecture, the plans 
and proportions of the building are more than its execution; 
and in agriculture, the service and skill of pitching and guid- 
ing the crop, more than its manual labor. But in education, 
the beginning, confessedly the foundation and source of all, 
is entrusted to anybody, or nobody, as chance may offer. 
Hence, thousands of youthful minds naturally fond of know- 
ledge and truth, ate discouraged or disgusted at the outset; 
and as many more, who persevere, require half a century to 
recover the damages cruelly inflicted in infancy, by indolence 
and stupidity. 

Lord Brougham considers character, in its essential fea- 
tures, fixed as early as the tenth year. A single grain of 
corn produces, in a fertile soil, two thousand for the first crop, 
and for the second four millions: and let it be recollected, 
that the product of the thistle is seven fold. —Ed. 



THE 

BAPTIST PREACHER. 



New Series, 



August, 1847, 



No, 8. 



MINISTERIAL ORDINATION: 



A sermon by R. B. C. Howell, D. D., pastor of the First Baptist Church, 
Nashville, Term. 



This sermon was prepared with some care, and preached to the church in 
Clarksville, Tenn., at the ordination of their young pastor, W. Shelton, on 
the 17th of January last. The presbytery who attended on that occasion, 
passed a resolution, approving its sentiments, and requesting a copy for pub- 
lication. I did not comply with their wishes. I subsequently preached the 
same sermon to the church in Lebanon, Tenn., at the ordination of their 
pastor, J. Van Epps Covey, on the 7th of March ultimo. The presbytery 
in attendance there, also passed resolutions of approval, and asked a copy 
for the press. Again I declined. Two weeks since, I received a note from 
a committee, communicating to me some late proceedings of the church in 
Lebanon, in which they expressed their high satisfaction with the discourse, 
and solicited me to allow it to go to the public. Upon reflection, it has 
occurred to me, since it has proved so highly satisfactory in this quarter, 
that it may not be unacceptable to our brethren generally, and that as I 
know no reason why it should be entirely withheld, I would send it to the 
Baptist Preacher. It is herewith submitted, in the hope, that if it is attended 
with little good, it may be productive of no evil. 



A minister, according to the gift of the grace of God.— Eph. hi : 7. 

To preach the gospel of Christ, and to administer its ordi- 
nances, God has been graciously pleased to appoint a select 
class of men. These are familiarly known as ministers. 
To be legitimate, they must be conformed, in their character, 
in their qualifications, and in their office, to the requirements 
of the divine law. More particularly :— u A minister, accord- 



PREFACE. 



Nashville, April 22, 1847. 



ROBT. BOYTE C. HOWELL. 



128 



Ministerial Ordination. 



ing to the gift of the grace of God," must have been renewed 
in his spiritual nature, by the Holy Ghost; he must have 
legitimately become a member of the true church; he must 
maintain a high standard of personal religion ; and in other 
respects, possess the requisite christian character. To quali- 
fy him for his vocation, he must have been called of God to 
the work; he must have acquired clear and scriptural con- 
ceptions of the system of revealed truth; and be able, with 
facility, to communicate his knowledge to others; he must 
have derived his ministerial rights and authority from the 
source whence they are possessed; and, for lawful purposes, 
he must have been scripturally invested with the sacred trust. 
These constitute his qualifications. In his high office, he 
must preach the true doctrines of Christ; administer the 
ordinances, in both their form and substance, as the gospel 
enjoins; and he must rule as instructed by the king in Jeshu- 
run. Such a man, all will admit, is a true minister of 
Jesus Christ. Such are Baptist ministers; therefore the 
Baptist is the true ministry of Jesus Christ. We have, 
consequently, all the authority which the gospel confers, or 
that any gospel minister can have, to preach, to baptize, to 
organize churches, to ordain ministers and other officers, and 
to do all other acts that may lawfully be done, by any minis- 
ter of the gospel whatever. 

In the present discourse, I propose to sustain two proposi- 
tions. The former is, that the authority and rights of Bap- 
tist ministers , in all respects, are eq.ual to those of the 
ministers of any other denomination whatever; and the 
latter is, that the authority and rights of Baptist ministers, 
are, in many respects, superior to those of any other de- 
nomination whatever. Both these postulates now an- 
nounced, involve comparisons. These, I am well aware, 
are always proverbially odious. Permit me then to say, in 
advance of this discussion, once for all, that I would not, for 
a moment, indulge them, were I not called upon to vindi- 
cate what I conceive to be the true teachings of the word of 
God. And, were it possible, I would greatly prefer to ac- 
complish my purpose in some other way. At all events, I 
beg you to be assured, that while I firmly advocate my own 
principles, long since fixed, I cherish at the same time, the 
profoundest respect for my brethren of the several denomina- 
tions around us. If I must speak of their doctrines without 



Ministerial Ordination. 



129 



approval, 1 shall studiously avoid every word and thought 
calculated to give them pain, and shall ever delight to honor 
their piety, intelligence and usefulness. 

1 . The authority and rights of Baptist ministers, are 
equal, in all respects, to those of the ministers of any other 
denomination whatever. 

This is our first proposition. Is it true? Which of the 
three leading denominations in the south-west — and I shall 
refer to no others — the Presbyterian, the Methodist, and the 
Episcopalian, will question it? Do our Presbyterian breth- 
ren allow our claims to be equal with theirs? It is so pre- 
sumed. Do our Methodist brethren? They it is true, are 
episcopal; they, therefore, have their bishops; and their 
ecclesiastical regulations have invested them alone with 
authority to ordain others. Still they are not understood to 
maintain episcopacy as of " divine right, 77 but simply as 
recommended by expediency. A bishop with them, is, con- 
sequently, merely " primus inter pares 77 — the first among his 
equals. They do not, therefore, so far as I know, deny to 
us as ministers, authority and rights equal with theirs. Our 
Protestant Episcopal brethren, hold a doctrine of an entirely 
different character; and, at this stage of our discourse, 
demand our chief attention. Bishops with them, are an 
order of men, divinely appointed, to a superior grade in the 
ministry — they inherit the apostleship — and they, or Cathol- 
ic, or Greek bishops only, having descended in regular suc- 
cession from the apostles, have authority to ordain other min- 
isters! Those not ordained by them, are not ordained at all ! 
We have not been ordained by them — consequently, we are 
not, in their estimation, ordained at all! We have, there- 
fore, no right to administer ordinances, nor indeed to act, in 
any sense, as ministers of the gospel of Christ. 

They alone, the true ministers of Christ! We, as such, 
destitute of authority ! This is a high and imposing claim. 
What facts and arguments can be adduced in its defence? 
They are understood to allege, first, that successors to the 
apostles were actually appointed, in the days, and by the 
authority, of the original twelve apostles; secondly, that this 
succession is shown, by history, to have been continued in 
subsequent ages, and to have been preserved to the present 
time: and, thirdly, that the authority thus derived, was neces- 
sary in the apostolic church, and is still necessary, to minis- 



130 



Ministerial Ordination. 



terial character, and the validity of all ministerial acts. If 
these theses can be supported, our authority and rights, are not 
equal to those of Episcopalians. Indeed, we are in no proper 
sense, the ministers of Christ. We should, therefore, instant- 
ly retire from our pulpits, and while we hide ourselves from 
the public gaze, repent of the presumption with which we 
dared to intrude ourselves, uncalled, and unauthorized, into 
the sacred office. But we are not prepared to admit, as true, 
either of the propositions announced. The facts appear to 
us to be the opposite of them in every case. 

Successors to the apostles, with the style and office of 
bishops! Appointed, too, in the days, and by the authority 
of the original twelve! And they the sole inheritors of this 
high distinction! Consider the peculiarities by which the 
apostolic office was marked, and tell me, whether, by possi- 
bility, they can characterize those known among us, par ex- 
cellence, as bishops? The apostles, let it, in the first place, 
be observed, received their commission, not in any sense from 
men, but directly, and personally, and exclusively from Jesus 
Christ himself. It was, secondly, an indispensable qualifica- 
tion for an apostle, that he should have been a witness of the 
actions and teachings of Christ, and have seen him after his 
resurrection. The apostles, thirdly, were endowed with su- 
pernatural gifts, and with a complete and infallible know- 
ledge of all things pertaining to the gospel. And, lastly, 
their doctrines and their commands, were the law of the 
church. All the apostles were thus characterized. This 
fact, the word of God places beyond question. The absence 
of the endowments indicated, to any man, made, and still 
makes, the apostleship to him impossible. Are our bishops 
thus distinguished ? Have they received their commission, 
not in any sense, from man, but directly and personally from 
Jesus Christ? Have they been witnesses of the actions and 
teachings of Christ, and seen him after his resurrection? 
Are they endowed with supernatural gifts, and inspired with 
a complete and infallible knowledge of the gospel? Are 
their doctrines and commands the law of the church? And 
yet they claim to be apostles, and as such, successors of the 
original twelve! They have not conferred ministerial char- 
acter and authority upon us, and, therefore, we have none! 

The truth is, my brethren, the apostles, as apostles, had no 
successors. As ministers of the gospel they had successors ; 



Ministerial Ordination. 



131 



but it is impossible, that as apostles, they could have had. 
Such a succession was wholly unnecessary. The God of 
grace never designed that the office should be perpetuated. 
Still it is claimed, and the plea must not be summarily dis- 
missed. A writer of distinguished ability, himself a bishop 
of that church, in a recent work on Episcopacy, thus states 
what is called the scripture argument, (and with us, this is 
all important,) in proof of the proposition, that u Successors 
to the apos'les, in the apostolic office, were actually appointed 
in the days, and by the authority, of the original twelve." 
He says : — 

u After the order of deacons had been created, and the 
church had been provided with pastors also, we have mention 
made, Acts xiv: 14, of the appointment of two apostles — 
Paul and Barnabas. In writing to the Romans, Rom. xvi: 
7, St. Paul mentions two more — Andronicus and Junius, as 
being of note, eminent among the apostles. In writing to 
the Corinthians, 2 Cor. viii: 23, he calls Titus and two 
others, whose names he does not give us, apostles of churches. 
In writing to the Gallatians, Gal. i: 19, he speaks of James, 
the Lord's brother, as an apostle. In writing to the Thessa- 
lonians, 1 Thes. i: 1, compared with ii: 6, he mentions Syl- 
vanus and Timothy as apostles with himself. Epaphroditus 
is spoken of, Phil, ii: 25, as an apostle. Here," remarks the 
bishop, "we have mentioned in scripture twelve, [he should 
have said eleven,'] besides the original twelve, in all making 
twenty-four" apostles. a The angels of the seven churches," 
mentioned in the book of Revelations, are believed also to 
have been bishops, or ministers, "jure divino," of a superior 
grade. 

This is (t the scripture testimony." It is, at the first 
glance, imposing and specious. Is it legitimate? If so, it 
is very nearly conclusive of the claims of Episcopacy. Our 
equality with them cannot be supported. If it is not just, 
all is irrecoverably lost to prelacy. No other argument, with- 
out this, is of any material value. Let us briefly review it. 

In the mention of three of this number, I must observe 
the advocates of episcopacy are particularly unfortunate; 
because two of them, Paul and James, were of the original 
twelve, and one of them, Juni#, (not Junius,) if we may 
determine sex by the gender, was a woman! She was the 
wife of Andronicus: and they were relatives of Paul. 



132 



Ministerial Ordination. 



"Salute," said he to the Romans, in the passage quoted by 
the bishop, "Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and fellow- 
prisoners, who are of note among the apostles" — not H noted, 
eminent, apostles," but simply christians, early of great repu- 
tation in the estimation of the apostles. This is the plain 
common sense, and the evident meaning of the text, and so 
acknowledged to be, by our best biblical critics, of all classes. 
Thus, instantly, four of the extra eleven apostles disappear ! 

Here it is necessary for us to pause a moment, and make 
a remark, explanatory of the original word Arto^o^o^ since it 
appears that our bishops use the Greek version of the New 
Testament, and claim, that, wherever this term, Artoatohos, oc- 
curs in connection with a name, however it may be rendered 
in the common translation, the person so designated, must 
have been clothed with the apostolic office! By reference to 
philological works of authority, this word will be found to 
mean simply a messenger, one sent. If he is sent, no mat- 
ter who he is, by whom sent, or what may be the nature of 
his errand, he is, in Greek, called an apostle. It follows, 
therefore, that whether the word, in scripture, is used of a 
messenger of any kind — one sent, without icspect to his 
character, or the nature of his message — of a man merely 
sent to preach, or of the apostolic commission especially, 
must depend entirely upon the connection in which it occurs. 
With this fact distinctly before us, we proceed with the 
review. 

Barnabas was an apostle. This is most cheerfully conce- 
ded. Luke, in the Acts, speaks of u the apostles, Barnabas 
and Saul." But in what sense was Barnabas an apostle? 
He was sent to preach the gospel. This is positively all. 
There is not a particle of testimony in the word of God, to 
prove any thing more. The people of Lystra, when they 
wrought miracles, would have paid them divine honors; of 
"which, when the apostles [the men sent of God to preach 
to them the gospel,] Barnabas and Saul, heard," they rent 
their clothes, ran among them, and, by a suitable address^ 
prevented. Barnabas, then, was sent as a preacher, but he 
never was an apostle, in the sense in which Peter, and Paul, 
and John, and the others, were apostles. This is indisputa- 
bly true. 

"Titus and two others, whose names are not mentioned," 
are claimed as apostles. The passage is relied upon for proof, 



Ministerial Ordination. 



133 



in which Paul says to the Corinthians: "Whether any do 
inquire of Titus, he is my fellow-helper concerning you; or 
our brethren be inquired of, [the two not named,] they ate the 
messengers of the churches, [in the Greek, a7to6to%oi txtikqaiuv, 
the apostles of the churches,] and the glory of Christ." 
And were these men clothed with the apostolic office ? No 
such thing appears, either from this, or any other text. The 
sense of the passage is exceedingly plain. Let it be briefly 
stated. The poor saints at Jerusalem, despoiled by persecu- 
tion, of all the comforts, and of nearly all the necessaries of 
life; and besides this, now suffering under the effects of the 
prevailing famine, were truly objects of compassion. The 
various gentile churches, determined to send them relief. 
Those of Macedonia particularly, had acted with great gene- 
rosity, and the wish prevailed to infuse the same liberal spirit 
into the minds of the Corinthians. For this purpose, Titus 
and the others, were selected and sent on a visit to Corinth. 
Paul, the prime mover and active agent, in this enterprise 
of love, wrote, and transmitted by their hands, this epistle — 
in which he commends these three ministers to the confi- 
dence of the brethren, with the assurance that they were 
sent to them, by several churches, — on this mission of 
mercy. Any apostleship of Titus and the others, beyond 
their being thus, and for this purpose, sent by the churches — 
arto6to7iot exxx^Gicov — has not been, and never can be, made to 
appear. They apostles in the episcopal sense] So far from 
it, they were merely agents, sent out by the gentile churches 
to collect money to relieve the temporal necessities of the 
churches among the Jews! Four others thus leave the apos- 
tolic theatre. 

Three only remain, for whom the apostleship is demand- 
ed— Epaphroditus, Sylvanus and Timothy. The episcopa- 
cy of the first of these, the bishop defends with this passage 
of Paul to the Philippians: "I supposed it necessary to 
send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and companion in labor, 
and fellow-soldier, but your messenger, \y^(ov 8s a7to6Tto%ov, 
your apostle,] and he that ministered to my wants." The 
amount of apostleship here indicated, is readily explained. 
Paul was ascertained to be in want of the means of support, 
and the Philippians, to relieve his necessities, kindly trans- 
mitted to him a sum of money, of which they made Epa- 
phroditus the bearer. The design of the mission, extending 



134 Ministerial Ordination. 



no further, and having now been accomplished, Paul sent 
Epaphroditus back to them, with this admirable epistle, in 
which he commends their gift, and also the manner of its 
bestowment; it having been borne to him by a brother 
beloved — his "companion in labor, and fellow-soldier" in 
the gospel of Christ. This, and no more, constitutes all the 
apostleship of Epaphroditus. 

As respects the other two, Paul writes to the Thessalo- 
nians, that he, and Sylvanus, and Timothy, had been careful 
to give them no trouble, although they had a right, and 
"might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ" 
Sylvanus and Timothy apostles of Christ! How? Being 
with Paul for the time, he inserts their names in his epistle, 
as he did that of Sosthenes in his first epistle to the Corin- 
thians, and Timothy's alone, in his epistle to the Colossians, 
and he bears testimony that they were his companions, and, 
equally with himself, were sent of God to preach the gospel. 
If because they were so sent to preach the gospel, which is 
all the word apostle here means, they are to be considered 
apostles, then all the primitive preachers were, and all true 
ministers to this day, are apostles, since they were, and are, 
all sent of God to preach the gospel. Thus the three last of 
the extra apostles depart, leaving none but the original 
twelve. 

But were not the angels of the seven churches, mentioned 
in the book of Revelations, bishops, or ministers superior in 
grade, authority and prerogatives, to other ministers? I sub- 
mit, in answer, three brief remarks. The first is, that the 
scriptures afford no proof whatever that they were. The 
second is, that the claim is disproved by the passages them- 
selves, and parallel texts. Ayyf?.o$, the name used to designate 
these ministers, means simply a messenger; and ATtoato-Ko^ 
means simply a messenger; both words describe any one sent 
to bear the message of the gospel; therefore, both are equal- 
ly as appropriate now, to those who preach the gospel, as 
they were then, to persons of the same class. My third re- 
mark is, that the supposition is unreasonable. There were 
precisely as many angels as there w T ere churches. Now, 
since there can be no bishop without a diocese, if each angel 
was a bishop, where was his diocese? The angels of the 
churches were not therefore bishops, but, most clearly, pas 
tors only, in the ordinary sense. 



Ministerial Ordination. 



135 



Upon a full and candid examination of the whole " scrip- 
ture argument" we now see plainly, that no successors to 
the apostles, were, in their days, appointed, either by their 
authority or ivith their consent. Besides the original twelve, 
not one minister can be found of a grade superior or inferior 
to presbyters. So far, therefore, as the scriptures are con- 
cerned, nothing appears to disprove, but every thing to sus- 
tain, the proposition, that the authority and rights of Baptist 
ministers are equal to those of Episcopalians, or of any other 
denomination whatever. 

The first argument of our brethren in support of the divine 
right of bishops, having, as we now see, totally failed, the 
second, which assumes, that, the alleged succession can 
be proved by historical authority, to have been actually con- 
tinued and preserved to our day, falls, as a matter of course, 
and all others predicated upon it, necessarily go with it. Yet 
it may be worth our while to give it a moment's conside- 
ration. 

Is it true, I ask, that history bears testimony to a continued 
apostolic succession, and that from the apostles' times to our 
day, it has been preserved? How can history speak the 
truth, and bear testimony to a thing that never existed? If 
history does not prove the opposite to be the fact, then I have 
read history, I must confess, to little purpose. Let us glance 
at the testimony of history. 

Mosheim says, Eccl. Hist. Intro., vol. l,p. IT, "When 
we look back to the commencement of the christian church, 
we find its government administered jointly by the pastors 
and people. But in process of time, the scene changes, and 
we see the pastors affecting an air of superiority, and tramp- 
ling upon the rights and privileges of the community, and 
assuming to themselves supreme authority." In his history 
of the First Century, vol. J , p. 88, the same distinguished 
writer further says: "The rulers of the churches were called 
either presbyters or bishops, which two titles, are, in the New 
Testament, undoubtedly applied to the same order of men." 
He again remarks, p. 91: "Let none confound the bishops 
of this primitive and golden period, with those of whom we 
read in the following ages. A bishop, during the first and 
second century, was a person who had the care of one 
christian assembly, which, at that time, was, generally 
speaking, small enough to be contained in a private house." 



136 Ministerial Ordination. 

The same facts, and many more to the same effect, are main 
tained by Ghiesler, and Neander, and the other reputable 
writers in the department of ecclesiastical histoiy. 

Permit a single passage from the christian fathers, regard- 
ing the history of apostolical succession. We will select it 
from Jerome, who wrote in the fourth century, and who 
was one among the most candid and learned of them all. 
He says, Comm. on Titus: "A presbyter is the same as a 
bishop." But "when every one, by the instigation of the 
devil, supposed that those he baptized belonged to him,, and 
not to Christ, it was decreed, throughout the whole world, 
that one chosen from the presbyters should be set over the 
rest." 

These, and such like, are the true historical authorities. 
They not only do not intimate the doctrine, but positively 
condemn apostolical succession. Nothing taught in history, 
therefore, can be found, contradicting the proposition that our 
authority and rights as ministers, are equal to those of any 
other denomination whatever. 

The third, and last argument, in support of the doctrine 
that Episcopal authority is derived by succession from the 
apostles, and transmitted in an unbroken series of ordinations, 
is essential to the validity of all ministerial acts, is now utter- 
ly overwhelmed, cut off, hopelessly, from any connection 
with the subject in hand. Yet, two or three considerations 
require that it should receive a passing notice. 

Apostolical authority was necessary at one period of the 
church. This is admitted by all. Our brethren conclude 
that it must, therefore, be necessary at every other period of 
the church. But I answer that this conclusion does not, by 
any means, follow, as a matter of course. It is a most obvious 
" non sequitor." Apostolical authority was necessary in the 
age of inspiration, to complete the system of divine revelation. 
The New Testament is the product. And here, in the New 
Testament, the whole apostolical authority and teaching are 
lodged, retained, and perpetuated, in all their freshness, force 
and vigor. In the New Testament, therefore, and no 
where else, the apostles, substantially, still live, and speak to 
its, as they did literally to their own personal associates. 
This is obliged to be the fact. Moses, for illustration, was 
the apostle, or lawgiver, and ruler of Israel, under the old 
dispensation. He had successors in the rulership; but as a 



Ministerial Ordination. 



137 



lawgiver, or apostle, he had no successor; he could have had 
none while that dispensation continued, without a total sub- 
version of his laws. So the twelve were apostles, or law- 
givers, and ministers, under the gospel. As ministers, they 
had successors; but as apostles, they had none; they could 
have had none, without a total subversion of the New Testa- 
ment. Are bishops legitimate successors to the apostolic 
office? Then they have the same authority which was pos- 
sessed by Peter, or James, or John. A letter of the bishop 
of Tennessee is, therefore, as obligatory, and as infallible, 
as any of the epistles of the New Testament. This doctrine 
is admitted, and acted upon at Rome, because it inevitably 
follows from the first principles of episcopacy; but will en- 
lightened American christians give it their assent? I pre- 
sume not. The apostolic office was necessary in the begin- 
ning of the church; but, as we now see, it was not, therefore, 
subsequently necessary; indeed, it could not possibly, in the 
nature of things, have continued to exist. It is, consequently, 
impossible that it can now be necessary, either to confer upon 
us ministerial character, or to give validity to our minis- 
trations. 

We have thus seen, that the apostles, as such, had no suc- 
cessors. Let it be conceded that bishops, in the episcopal 
sense, found their way, at an early period, into the church, 
and still, in some departments of it, firmly maintain their 
place. Yet for their existence, they have no scripture war- 
rant. Our Episcopal brethren, therefore, provided even that 
in all other respects they are conformed to the word of God, 
have no ministers, they can have none, but plain simple 
presbyters. Those who wear the title of bishops, are nothing 
more, since no such office exists to be conferred. 

But can it be that the scriptures authorize no such office in 
the church as bishops, in the episcopal sense? Than this, 
no fact appears to me to be more certainly true. The only 
officers appointed by God to preach, and administer ordinan- 
ces, and whose commission has come down to our times, are 
called indifferently, elders, bishops and presbyters; all of 
which names, when referring to office, convey the same idea. 
They are convertible terms, and are frequently used inter- 
changeably, to describe the same person. There is, however, 
some difference in their sense, which it is proper should be 
stated. A presbyter is a man clothed with the ministerial 



138 



Ministerial Ordination. 



office; an elder is a presbyter advanced in age; and a bishop 
is a presbyter invested with the pastorship. All have, how- 
ever, the same authority to preach, to ordain, and to adminis- 
ter all the ordinances of religion. Let us refer, in proof, to 
a few passages of the word of God. 

"For this cause," said Paul to Titus, Tit. i: 5-7, "left I 
thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that 
are wanting, and ordain elders, [Ttpsapvtepovs, presbyters,] in 
every city, as I had appointed theei If any be blameless, 
the husband of one wife, not accused of riot, or unruly; for 
a bishop \$*t*<txojto6 : \ must be blameless, as the steward of 
God." Who does not see that in this passage, the same per- 
sons are called indifferently, elders, presbyters and bishops? 
And who was Titus, who ordained these bishops, not over 
large territories, but in every city 1 ) He was simply a presby- 
ter, evangelist, or missionary. And who were these bishops? 
Nothing more certainly, than ordinary pastors. 

Again. Peter, speaking on this subject, in his second 
epistle, v : 1,2, says to the pastors: "The elders which are 
among you, [rfpctfpvtfcpous, the presbyters] I exhort, who am 
also an elder, [_<sviL7tpsGfivi?spo$ 3 a fellow-presbyter,] and a wit- 
ness of the sufferings of Christy and also a partaker of the glory 
which shall be revealed ; feed the flock of God which is 
among you, taking the oversight thereof, [ertiaxortovvtes, exer- 
cising the office of bishops,] not by constraint, but willing- 
ly." Here again we have the inspired declaration, that 
elders are presbyters, and that presbyters are bishops. 

Once more. Paul the apostle came, Acts 20: 17-28. to 
Miletus, "and sent to Ephesus and called the elders 
[rtpsapvtepovst the presbyters] of the church," and said to them, 
"Take heed to yourselves, and to ail the flock over which 
the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, [tTt^xortov^ 
bishops,] to feed the church of God which he hath purchased 
with his own blood. The elders of the church at Ephesus 
were presbyters, and the presbyters were bishops. 

Such are all the teachings of God's word. Did the apostles 
understand this matter? Are we to rely upon their represen- 
tations of it? If so, then four facts are firmly established. 
The first is, that the apostles, as apostles, had no successors 
in the church; the second is, that presbyters, bishops and 
elders, all hold the same office; the third is, that presbyters 
ordained bishops, who were pastors in the ordinary sense ; 



Ministerial Ordination. 



139 



and the fourth is, that all ordained ministers were the equals, 
the peers, of each other. Our brethren of all denominations, 
if in every other respect they are fully legitimate, have 
received their ordination from presbyters alone. Methodists, 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, have received this, and only 
this ordination. We have received the same. Our authority 
and rights, therefore, to preach, to baptize, to organize 
churches, to ordain ministers and other officers, and to do all 
else that may be done by ministers of the gospel, are equal 
in all respects, to the authority and rights of the ministers of 
any other denomination whatever. This fact is now placed 
beyond controversy. 

2. The authority and rights of Baptist ministers, are, 
in many respects, superior to those of the ministers of any 
other denomination whatever. 

We do not intend by this claim, to derogate from the high 
christian character, intelligence, zeal, or usefulness, of our 
brethren of the several churches around us. Our purpose 
is only to defend what most certainly belongs to us. Exclu- 
sive pretensions are not often heard with patience, even by 
those who are willing to admit that they are well founded. 
We concede to our brethren equality with us, in personal 
religion, in love for the cause of Christ, in readiness to labor 
for the salvation of men, in deep sincerity, and in other 
christian qualities. They may, indeed, in many things, be 
even greatly our superiors. Still, in other respects, and espe- 
cially in the ministry, we are obliged to believe that similar 
concessions cannot with truth be admitted. 

It is most evident to us, that our authority and rights as 
ministers, are superior to those possessed by the ministers of 
any other denomination whatever, because by baptism we 
entered, and became legitimate members of Christ's king- 
dom, before we assumed to be invested with the offices of that 
kingdom, or to administer its ordinances and government, 
They have never been baptized at all! 

I know of no competent authority any where, or in the 
opinions of any christians, Baptists or Psedobaptists. by which 
a man can be admitted even to membership in the visible 
church of Christ on earth, without baptism. Do the minis- 
ters of other churches claim to have been baptized? They 
were, I allow, sprinkled in their infancy! But such a cere= 
rnony^ and at such a time, bears no more relation to baptism 



140 



Ministerial Ordination. 



than it does to the sound of the last trumpet. They have 
never even been baptized! Here, therefore, they labor under 
a capital deficiency, and our advantage over them is most 
obvious. I will not ask whether (hey are really members of 
the visible church. That is their own affair. If, however, 
they are not, what authority have they, what right, to exer- 
cise those prerogatives that belong only to the officers of that 
church? If the matter is barely doubtful, how can they, 
especially as there is no necessity for it, risk so important a 
qualification upon an uncertainty? Our authority and rights 
are, therefore, in this respect, most certainly superior to 
theirs. 

They are superior upon another ground. We received 
our ordination from the only true source, whence, under 
God, it can be derived — the church, and her bishops, acting 
upon her order, and as her executive officers. 

Ordinations conferred by a bishop, in his own right, and 
those also given by a presbytery, as a permanent body, and 
without church order, are all, and equally, destitute of divine 
sanction. I do not say that they are invalid. That is no 
business of mine; but I well know that they have no coun- 
tenance in the word of God. Where is the warrant? Epis- 
copacy is modeled after the ancient Hebrew Theocracy, and 
Presbyterianism after the Jewish Synagogue. Will these be 
quoted as authority? Surely not. Baptist principles look to 
the New Testament, and not to the abrogated forms of a 
former and extinct dispensation. There the law of Christ is 
fully recorded, and in it we find two words which are em- 
ployed to express the conferring of the ministerial office; 
they are xatae^cfmjiBv, and %£ipotovri6o.v'tzs. The former, which 
occurs in Acts vi : 3, Scapula assures us, (and he was confess- 
edly one of our best writers on the sacred languages,) signi- 
fies to put one in rule, or to give him authority, or ministe- 
rial sanction. The latter, found in Acts xiv: 23, expresses, 
we are told, the suffrages or votes of the members of the 
church, by stretching foith the hand, in approval of the act 
of ordination. Ordinations, therefore, are the united acts of 
the church and her bishops. Ministers are employed in set- 
ting apart other ministers, not in virtue of their being bishops 
as a superior order, nor of their being presbyters, all of the 
same order; but merely as executive officers of the church, 
with whom the whole right is lodged by her great and adora- 
ble Head, Jesus Christ our Lord. 



Ministerial Ordination . 



141 



Ordinations not so conferred are, of necessity, vitally 
defective, since the power is possessed by the church alone, 
and can of course be imparted only by the church. Paul 
and Barnabas, the former an apostle, the latter a presbyter, 
ordained bishops in Derbe,Lystra and Iconiurrijas we ordain 
them; and the same thing was done in other places, by 
Timothy and Titus, and all the other primitive ministers. 
The early churches had each its own bishop, and there were 
certainly as many churches as bishops. Nor did they when 
ordained, join presbyteries, or bodies of ministers, who there- 
upon ceased to have their names in the individual churches 
as before. They never ordained men first to a lower grade 
in the ministry, and then again, after a stipulated time, to a 
higher grade in the ministry, as is so often done among us. No 
such case can be found in the word of God, in the form either 
of precept or example. No New Testament minister, as a min- 
ister, ever received but one ordination. This was by the united 
suffrages of the church and her bishops. Such ordination 
only is scriptural and legitimate; and it confers upon all 
those who receive it, all the powers and authority requisite to 
the complete fulfilment of all the duties belonging to those 
of any class who preach the gospel, and administer the offices 
and ordinances of our holy religion. Baptist ministers have 
received this ordination; ministers of other denominations 
have not; our authority and rights, therefore, are, in this 
respect also, superior to those of any other denomination 
whatever. 

In still another department, our authority and rights are 
superior to those of others. We are not ordained for un- 
scriptural purposes, such as to place us over other ministers as 
their governors, and to become legislators, and judges, in the 
kingdom of Christ. 

If a man is ordained to do what the scriptures do not 
allow to be done at all, or if at all, not by ministers, then 
so far certainly as those things are concerned, his ordination 
is no ordination. A minister, for example, has no right, in 
his quality as such, to exercise the office of a civil magistrate. 
Suppose he should be ordained to that office, would he there- 
fore be a civil magistrate? Certainly not. Such ordination 
would surely be void. So of every other authority not 
divinely given. And now, where in the word of God do 
you find that the inferior clergy are subjected to the govern- 



142 



Ministerial Ordination. 



ment of a superior, called a bishop? Where does lhat word 
speak of ecclesiastical courts, or of courts of judicature, and 
courts of appeal? Show me the grant for enacting laws by 
the clergy, or by any one else, for the government of the 
church? Jesus Christ is the supreme, and the only supreme 
Bishop in his church. "All ye are brethren." He is sole 
Ruler, Lawgiver and Judge. We know no other; we admit 
no other ; and so far as men are ordained for such purposes, 
their ordinations are a nullity. We are ordained to execute 
the laws of Christ, in the church, and in the world, and we 
can never forget that where there is no command there is no 
obedience. We dare not assume powers which Jesus Christ 
has never granted. Our oidination, therefore, being con- 
formed, as to its purposes, to the word of God, confers upon 
us authority and rights superior to those possessed by the 
ministers of any other denomination whatever. 

Our authority and lights are superior in several other 
respects; but we have sufficiently illustrated this part of our 
subject, and we must not longer detain you. 

We have now seen what is necessary to constitute a true 
minister of Jesus Christ, "according to the gift of the grace 
of God," and that all the characteristics of such are possessed 
by Baptist ministers ; we have seen that the authority and 
rights of Baptist ministers are, in all respects, equal to those 
of the ministers of any other denomination whatever, because 
those from whom we received the ministry had full power 
from the great Head of the church, to confer it, and did con- 
fer it upon us in all its plentitude, by the agency of lawful 
presbyters, which is all that can be said of Presbyterian, 
Methodist, or Episcopalian ministers; and we have seen that 
our authority and rights are, in many respects, superior to 
those of all others, particularly in the fact that, by baptism, 
we entered and became legitimate members of Christ's 
visible kingdom upon earth, before we assumed to be invested 
with the offices of that kingdom, or to administer its ordinan- 
ces and government; in the fact, that ive received our au- 
thority and rights from their only depository and legal source; 
and in the fact, that we are not ordained for unscriptural, but 
for lawful gospel purposes. 

From this whole subject, maturely considered, we con- 
clude in the first place, that with our authority and rights as 
ministers of the gospel, we have ample reasons to be entirely 
satisfied. 



Ministerial Ordination . 



143 



No Baptist minister, of whom I know any thing, ever had 
the slightest misgiving upon this point. Did your hearts, 
brethren, ever hesitate for want of full confidence? No, I 
am ready to answer for you, no, never. Did any well instruct- 
ed christian, who has received the ordinances from the hands 
of Baptist ministers, ever doubt their validity, from apprehen- 
sion that we want authority to give them? Far, very far 
from it. On the contrary, there are millions, and I confess 
myself to be of the number, who would consent to accept 
them from no other administrators. No, here we stand on 
firm ground. We may fail in our fidelity, our devotion, our 
zeal, but our authority cannot be shaken. The Lord sustain 
us in the duties of our high vocation. 

We, in the second place, conclude, from this subject, that 
upon us particularly, devolves the obligation to understand, 
and be governed strictly, in all that pertains to the ministry, 
by the word of God. 

Our brethren of other churches, have, in many instances, 
gone far aside, and their return to the simple teachings of 
revelation is hardly to be hoped. How can they return 
without a total breaking up of their several systems of eccle- 
siastical polity? Will they, can they do this? As for us, 
the Bible is our standard, and our only standard. To com- 
prehend its teachings, therefore, and to be governed by them, 
is our paramount duty. We are then prepared, not only to 
do our duty, but to defend the truth, and to teach others the 
service of Christ. Ignorance of the divine law, or disregard 
of its instructions, is the teeming source of all error. Every 
departure from the beautiful system revealed by Christ, is a 
derogation from the power and effect of religion. Jehovah 
can never be pleased with that which he has not appointed. 
To us the command is not less imperative than it was to the 
Hebrews: " What thing soever I command you, observe to 
do it. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." 

This subject leads us, in the third place, to conclude that 7 
in religion particularly, we should estimate men as they are 
conformed to Christ. 

We are but too prone to be attracted by titles; to be daz- 
zled by pageantry; and to be seduced by flattery, and the 
love of power. Many, for these baubles, sacrifice their 
claims to gospel purity. Shall they ever cause us to forget, 
and to swerve from the truths taught by our blessed Redeem- 
20 



144 



Note. 



er? The gospel claims our obedience wholly. Submission 
to Christ generally, and in the ministry particularly, should 
be our only test of character. Yes, and he shall be most 
loved and revered by us, who most loves and obeys our ado- 
rable Saviour. 

The pulpit, we conclude, in the last place, never can be 
clothed with all its wonted power over the hearts and con- 
sciences of men, until it fully corresponds with the laws of 
its institution. Then, and not till then, may it be properly 
said : 

" There stands the messenger of truth; there stands 

The legate of the skies ! His theme divine, 

His office sacred, his credentials clear. 

By him the violated law speaks out 

Its thunders, and by him, in strains as sweet 

As angels use, the gospel whispers peace. 

He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak, 

Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart, 

And, armed himself, in panoply complete, 

Of heavenly temper, furnishes with arms 

Bright as his own, and trains, by every rule 

Of holy discipline, to glorious war, 

The sacramental hosts of God's elect." 



NOTE. 

Touching the subject considered in this sermon, one of the 
ablest discussions we recollect ever to have read, was com- 
prised in three letters, addressed by Rev. Thornton Stringfel- 
low, through the Religious Herald, in the year 1844, to a 
lady from whom he had received a copy of Bishop Onder- 
donk's Essay on Episcopacy, with the question annexed : — 
"How can the reasoning of this essay be refuted?" We 
should be glad to see these letters embodied in a tract, and 
laid before the whole Baptist denomination, and indeed the 
whole christian world. From the first of these letters we 
have room to make the following extract: — 

" The true question at issue in this controversy, is a ques- 
tion of original, inherent power, between the clergy on one 
side, and the followers of Jesus Christ on the other. It is a 
question that involves the right of private judgment and of 
conscience, in things which relate to men and their Creator. 



Note. 



145 



Episcopacy means an absolute right in bishops to govern. 
Presbyterianism means an absolute right in presbyters to gov- 
ern. Both systems assert, that clergymen are the divinely 
consecrated fountains of authority in the church of Christ — 
with a right to perpetuate their own official existence — and 
to transmit to successors, four inherent spiritual rights, which 
they claim to have received by succession — not from churches 
— but from the apostles. 

An inherent right is defined by the Bishop to be " a right 
which cannot be taken away, or justly suspended, (except 
by punitive discipline,) but is always valid." (See page 15.) 
The inherent spiritual rights which they claim a right to 
exercise and transmit, are thus summed up by the Bishop at 
page 11. First, " the right to ordain." Secondly, "the 
right to confirm." Thirdly, "the right of general supervi- 
sion." Fourthly, "the chief administration of spiritual dis- 
cipline." In all other spiritual rights, the theory admits an 
equality with bishops on the part of the inferior clergy. 

Do you understand what is meant by the language of this 
summary? If you do not, I will tell you; when analyzed, 
"the right to ordain" means an absolute right to make all 
officers in the church — " the right to confirm," means an 
absolute right to make all private members — " the right of 
general supervision," means an absolute right to govern all 
churches — the right of "the chief administration of spiritual 
discipline," means the absolute right of inflicting pains and 
penalties for all disobedience in the church ; in other words, 
to ordain is to make officers — to confirm is to make members 
— supervision is to govern both — discipline is to exclude both 
for disobedience. 

This is a princely inheritance for Americans to bestow on 
mortal men. These inherent rights may suit the angels of 
heaven, but you will agree with me, that they define the 
character of an earthly tyrant. 

Episcopacy, in its true colors, is enough, it seems to me, 
to make a free man tremble; but if it be of God — if indeed 
he has clothed a self-creating and self-perpetuating body of 
ecclesiastics with such powers, (no matter how wicked,) ac- 
cording to the Bishop's own shewing, so long as they con- 
tinue in office, (see page 5,) why let us submit to them, be- 
cause what God ordains, is ordained in wisdom and righteous- 
ness. The question to be settled is this — has he done it? This 



146 



Note. 



question must be settled by the New testament; and al- 
though Episcopacy gives you and myself no 'right to judge 
this question, yet by the law of Christ, and by our civil law, 
we both have a right to sit in judgment upon this question, 
and to decide for ourselves, whether the New Testament was 
designed to teach that God has ordained the Episcopal clergy 
to be our conscience-keepers. For, if Episcopacy, in the 
sense of the Bishop's argument, be true, then this is true as 
a consequence. 

Episcopacy asserts, that the apostles exercised four inher- 
ent rights, viz : the right to make officers — the right to make 
members — the right to govern — and the right to enforce au- 
thority — and then claims for Episcopal bishops a transfer from 
the apostles, of these four inherent rights, which, "except 
for discipline, never can be retracted, suspended, or modified, 
except by the giver or givers." — (See page 15.) 

Presbyterianism, according to the Bishop, asserts that these 
four rights were exercised by the apostles ; but claims that 
the transfer was made to the Presbyterian clergy ; or, in other 
words, to presbyters in general. 

The Baptists assert, that these four rights are inherent in 
the church. (By church, the New Testament means a con* 
gregation of saints worshiping in one place.") — Ed. 



THE 

BAPTIST PKEACHEK. 



New Series, September, 1847. No, 9. 



THE UNIVERSAL DOMINION OF CHRIST: 

A Sermon, preached before the Georgia Baptist Convention, at Savannah, 
May 14, 1847, and" published by resolution of the Convention, by Rev. A. 
T. Holmes, Pastor of the Hayneville church, Houston co., Ga. 

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, 
* The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his 
Christ ; and he shall reign forever and ever.'' " — Rev. xi : 15. 

The text follows the announcement, that "the second 
woe is passed, and behold, the third woe cometh quickly." 
By reference to the context, it will appear, that the third woe 
is connected with a final consummation. It is argued by 
some, that this consummation was effected in the taking and 
sacking of the city of Jerusalem, and the burning of the 
temple, having assumed, that the beseiging of the city by the 
Romans was the second woe, and the seditions among the 
Jews themselves, was the first; yet the whole passage may 
justly be considered as referring to that day, contemplated in 
every promise and in every prophecy, when the ultimate and 
complete triumph of the truth should be secured, and the 
universal and undisputed reign of Him should be accom- 
plished, to whom "should be given the heathen for his in- 
heritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his posses- 
sion." The joyful acclamations of the heavenly host, con- 
sisting of angels and the spirits of the just made perfect, 
may be, consistently, regarded as a prophecy, in which the 
event, that should be most assuredly realized, is celebrated 
as having already transpired. In the calculations of eternity 
"one day is as a thousand years," and, therefore, in the 
language of eternity, the past and the future, involving pro- 
mises and their fulfilment, purposes and their accomplish- 
ment, and judgments and their execution, are comprehended 



148 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



in one, eternal, present existence. In this sense, the king- 
doms of the world are become the kingdoms of our God and 
of his Christ; but considered with respect to time, the event 
is yet to come. The seventh angel shall yet sound the 
trumpet which proclaims to all the world that "Jesus of 
Nazareth, the king cf the Jews," is Jesus the Christ, the 
King of kings. The triumph of the cross shall be complete, 
the dominion of grace shall be established, the enemies of 
God shall be destroyed. 

" The Prince of salvation in triumph is riding, 
And glory attends him along his bright way ; 
The tidings of grace on the breezes are gliding, 
And nations are owning his sway. 

Ride on, in thy greatness, thou conquering Saviour, 
Let thousands of thousands submit to thy reign ; 
Acknowledge thy goodness, entreat for thy favor, 
And follow thy glorious train. 

Then loud shall ascend from each sanctified nation, 
The voice of thanksgiving, the chorus of praise ; 
And heaven shall reecho the song of salvation, 
In rich and melodious lays." 

It is proposed to notice — 

I. The grand instrumentality which God has appointed 
for the accomplishment of the end contemplated in the text. 

II. Some of the evidences that such a consummation is 
in progress. 

In noticing the first general view presented, it is important 
to understand, that the conquest of the world is the Lord's 
work, and that the Lord himself will accomplish it. "Not 
by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." 
The conquered, in the great victory to be obtained, will share 
the glory, only so far as they reflect the glory of the conquer- 
or. What instrumentality soever God may use in effecting 
his purposes of grace, and how distinguished soever any 
number of individuals may be in the success and triumph of 
the truth, He will cause his own absolute and indispensable 
agency to be manifest; and subordinate agents, in every suc- 
cessful enterprise, will be heard to exclaim, "Not unto us, 
O Lord, not unto us", but unto thy name give glory for thy 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



149 



mercy, and for thy truth's sake." The warfare which is 
waged, is conducted upon principles peculiar to the Divine 
administration. Man is enlisted in the service, and required 
to be armed for the conflict; yet, it is the armor of the Lord 
that must constitute his preparation for that conflict, and 
hence he is exhorted to be strong in the Lord, and in the 
power of his might, for the weapons of his warfare are not 
carnal. The kingdoms of darkness shall be destroyed, and 
the kingdoms of the world subdued; but God will be recog- 
nized as directing every movement, giving efficiency to every 
measure, and overruling every event. To himself, will he 
secure, beyond all controversy, the glory of that conquest 
which shall have been obtained, when the banner of the 
cross shall be unfurled, and spreading its ample folds over 
the nations of the earth, shall proclaim universal dominion 
in the language of our text: — The kingdoms of the world 
are become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ. 

In illustration of this truth, your attention will be occupied 
in noticing one or two of the many instances in which God 
has signally declared that he will not give his glory to 
another. 

In what are denominated, by some, the wars of the Lord, 
there is one event which shines with peculiar brightness. 
Israel had rested forty years after the conquest of Jabin, and 
Tisera, the leader of Jabin's host, had been sold into the 
hands of a woman, according to the prophetic declaration of 
Deborah to Barak.* But the anger of the Lord was again 
roused against his people, and their deliverance from the 
king of Canaan is followed by the oppression of Midian. 
In their distress they cried unto the Lord, and once more is 
their deliverance effected. But mark the divine proceeding. 
The angel of the Lord is sent to the house of Joash, a poor 
man in Manasseh, and Gideon, the least in all that house- 
hold, is commissioned as the leader of Israel's host. Go, 
says the angel of the Lord, in this thy might, and thou shalt 
save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. In obedience 
to the divine command, Gideon goes forth, and sounds the 
trumpet for battle. An army is soon collected from the va- 
rious tribes, and he finds himself at the head of two and 
thirty thousand men. Compared with the host of the 



Judges iv: 9. 



150 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



Midianites, with which he must contend, this was a number 
by far too small to afford any hope of success. Gideon, 
doubtless, supposed that the number must be increased, but 
the Lord plainly informed him that it must be diminished. 
"The people that are with thee are too many for me to give 
the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves 
against me, saying, mine own hand hath done it." Accord- 
ingly, the thirty and two thousand are reduced to three hun- 
dred, and each man, with his trumpet, and lamp, and empty 
pitcher, shouting the war-cry of "the sword of the Lord and 
of Gideon," beheld with astonishment the dispersion of the 
foe. It is true that each man stood in his place round about 
the camp, and executed, promptly and strictly, the order of 
his leader, but as the host of the Midianites " ran, and cried, 
and fled," it was signally obvious to all, that the victor)'' was 
the result of divine interposition. " It was the Lord's doings, 
and marvellous in their eyes." This is but a solitary in- 
stance among many which might be stated, and ec the time 
would fail" to tell of Samson, and David, and Jonathan, of 
Caleb and Joshua, and a host of others, who, in the name 
and strength of the Lord, subdued their enemies, and aided 
in effecting the ultimate possession of the inheritance design- 
ed for his people. 

But further: — During four thousand years previous to the 
appearance of the promised Messiah, God was preparing the 
world for the important event; and he led the people among 
whom he was to be born, for many ages, through various 
dispensations. In the successive changes of power from 
Babylon to Rome, the world was gradually approaching a 
state of universal peace, until, under the wise and prosperous 
reign of Augustus, the truth, for once, seemed to be admit- 
ted, that man might cultivate relations of friendship with his 
fellow-man. Judea had become a Roman province, and 
occupying, as it did, a central position with reference to the 
ancient world, it became the chosen spot from which should 
proceed the light of truth that should shine 'upon the sur- 
rounding nations. The " star in the east" which guided 
the wise men to the cradle in the manger, proclaimed that 
soon would be seen, above the moral horizon, the " Sun of 
Rightcousnees" that, from this common centre, would en- 
lighten a benighted world, and dissipate the darkness in 
which sin had enveloped a fallen race. Thus, fifteen hun- 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



151 



died years after, when God determined to correct the abuses 
of Papal supremacy, and rescue his holy religion from the 
corrupt perversion of spiiitual Babylon, in the exercise of 
that wisdom peculiar to the divine administration, he passes 
by all those countries in Christendom, which, in their turn 
had shared in the history of the church, and singles out as the 
spot in which this mighty reform should begin, the only 
place which had continued to be involved in darkness. As 
Judea was located with respect to the ancient world, so Ger- 
many was situated in the midst of christian nations, and here 
did He, a wbo worketh all things after the counsel of his 
own will, 3 ' determine to kindle the torch, which, though re- 
flecting but a feeble light at first, should gradually expose the 
"mother of abominations" and lead to a religious regenera- 
tion which, in a later day, should awaken the various na- 
tions of the christrian world. Human wisdom and policy 
are condemned, for Jerusalem and Rome are neglected as 
the birth-place of the incarnate Redeemer, and Bethlehem of 
Judea is immortalized by the event so pregnant with good to 
men; and, while enlightened Europe, in Greece and Rome, 
in Britain and France, had surprised the world with her ora- 
tors, her statesmen, her warriors and philosophers, it was 
from the humble fire-side of a miner's cottage, in the centre 
of Europe, a dark, and almost barbarous region, that the 
man should go forth, who was destined to arrest the mighty 
tide of error and corruption, and to re-model the vital princi- 
ple of Christianity; "an expression of God's purpose, by his 
means, to cleanse the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold 
in his furnace." Thus, in these two great and infinitely im- 
portant revolutions, one a revolution from paganism and idol- 
atrous superstition, to the pure and saving influence of gospel 
truth; the other, a revolution from corruption and priestcraft, 
and fatal delusion, to primitive purity and simplicity; God 
stands alone, in his sovereign independence, while he pre- 
pares for the mighty work. And, when the time is come, 
the time of his own appointment, behold the instrumentality 
which he employs! Peter and James and John, with their 
associates, as the apostles of Christ, go forth from the hum- 
bler walks of life, with the divine commission, and under 
the divine direction, to give the first impulse to the stupen- 
dous enterprise of man's recovery; and Zwingle, and Me- 
lancthon, and Luther, proceed from the same condition, 



152 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



claiming connection with no higher class, to awaken the 
world to a conviction of their alienation from God, and once 
again to direct their feet in the pathway of the just. Esti- 
mated, according to the calculations of human policy, the 
agency employed is insufficient for the accomplishment of 
any important end; and as contemptible as insufficient when 
regarded with reference to that homage which man in his 
folly pays to man in his pride. Yet, from the cottage to the 
crown their power is felt, and peasants and princes yield to 
an influence which they may not resist. The combination 
of kingdoms and empires, in opposition, fails, for it is the 
power of God with which they contend, and, in accordance 
with the immutability of his purpose, the work moves stead- 
ily onward to its final consummation. Thus, in the method 
of God's providence, great results are effected by inconside- 
rable means, because he will maintain his own right, and 
will not give to another, that which essentially belongs to 
himself. Second causes he will recognize, and upon thou- 
sands sustaining this relation to himself has he conferred sig- 
nal honor; but as the great First Cause, he will be known 
to all the universe over which he reigns. 

We enter, now, upon the examination of the text, accord- 
ing to the arrangement proposed, and proceed to consider — 

I. The grand instrumentality which God has appointed 
for the accomplishment of the great and glorious result con- 
templated in the text. - 

That instrumentality is the gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Thus did the apostle regard it when he declared to 
the brethren at Rome, that it was "the power of God unto 
salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and 
also to the Greek;" and thus did the Son of God intend that 
it should be understood, when he proclaimed, that as Moses 
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must he be 
lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish 
but have eternal life. This gospel is, more peculiarly, the 
burthen of the latter dispensation, yet was it distinctly inti- 
mated in earlier times. The great anti-type of the offerings 
and sacrifices of the former dispensation, was exhibited in 
the promises of God with reference to the work of recovery 
which should be accomplished, which promise, in the lan- 
guage of inspiration, is the gospel itself, for " the scripture, 
foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



153 



preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee 
shall all nations be blessed." — Gal. iii: 8. Hence, the adop- 
tion of the terra gospel. It is good news, or glad tidings: 
it is the revelatiou of the grace of God to fallen man, through 
a Mediator, and therefore, denominated by the apostle, in his 
last interview with his brethren, previous to his departure for 
Jerusalem, the gospel of the grace of God. It is the ex- 
hibition of wisdom and power and love combined, the pro- 
clamation of peace and reconciliation, the gracious tender of 
pardon and restoration to favor forfeited and lost. It is the 
wise and holy and gracious constitution of Jehovah, minute- 
ly adapted to overcome every hindrance, to answer every ob- 
jection, to meet every emergency, and to satisfy every de- 
mand. It approaches man as a rebel, and subdues him; as 
an enemy, and reconciles him; as corrupt, and purifies him; 
as morally degraded, and elevates and ennobles him; and 
yet harmonizing with the divine attributes, and maintaining 
the divine requirements; proposing at the same time the 
glory of God and the welfare of man, it presents for the ad- 
miration of all intellectual beings, in heaven and on earth, 
the affecting, subduing, overwhelming spectacle of " mercy 
and truth meeting together, of righteousness and peace em- 
bracing each other." And what, may one enquire, who 
looks enraptured on a scene like this, what can such a dis- 
play discover, respecting the design of God? Will the guilty 
escape the penalty incurred? Are not justice and judgment 
the habitation of his throne? The answer is heard in the 
song of the u morning stars," in the shoutings of the sons of 
God. From the cross proceeds the note of triumph and ex- 
ultation, as the glorious sufferer announces that the work is 
finished, for justice is satisfied, and judgment executed upon 
him who offers himself a sacrifice, the just for the unjust; 
and now is opened up the prospect of that final consumma- 
tion, when it shall be sounded aloud through all the uni- 
verse of God, that " the kingdoms of the world are become 
the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." 

But there is an opinion respecting this final restitution, 
assumed at least by many in the present day, which the pre- 
ceding remarks make necessary should be noticed here. I 
mean the opinion that the salvation which the gospel pub- 
lishes, is a salvation irrespective of character, and that the 
power exerted is not a sanctifying as well as a saving power. 



154 The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



Such an opinion involves the doctrine, that Christ is a Sa- 
viour, but not a Saviour from sin, and like the error of the 
Nicolaitans, seems rather to make him the minister of sin. 
But, says the scripture, "if I build again the things which I 
destroyed, I make myself a transgressor," and this in con- 
nection with the forcible demand, that, " if while we seek to 
be justified by Christ, we ourselves are found sinners, is 
therefore Christ the minister of sin?" Does he promote 
iniquity by establishing a u lax morality," and freeing man 
from the wholesome restraints of the law? Does he issue a 
license lhat the workers of abomination may prosecute their 
work with impunity, and by securing this privilege, consti- 
tute himself the master workman, not in destroying, but in 
building up the empire of darkness? Weil may we start 
back, with horror, from such an exhibition, and with the 
apostle exclaim, " God forbid." Let those entertaining such 
an opinion consider well the charge of the Lord Jesus to the 
church at Pergamos,* with reference to those among them 
who held the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast 
a stumbling block before the children of Israel, and to those 
also, who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing 
he hated. Let it never be forgotten, that between Christ and 
Belial there can be no fellowship, and that the sceptre of the 
Son of God, in that day when he will reign the sovereign 
Arbiter of the universe, will be extended, not only over a 
ransomed, but also over a regenerated dominion. That day 
will come, but first, they that are in their graves must hear 
the voice of the Son of God, and come forth; they that have 
done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done 
evil to the resurrection of damnation. Else, what means the 
language of the apostle to the church at Corinth, (2 Cor. ii: 
J 5, 16,) " For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in 
them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one, 
we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other, the 
savor of life unto life." The allusion is to an ancient cus- 
tom among the Greeks. In triumphal processions, the cap- 
tives of principal importance followed the chariots of the 
conquerors, in chains. Among these captives some were 
pardoned, but others were condemned to die, as soon as the 
procession should end. The streets through which the vic- 



*Rev. ii: 12—16. 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 155 

torious generals passed were strewed with flowers, and the 
smell or incense was to the pardoned, the incense of life, 
but to the condemned, the incense of death. Nevertheless, 
it was! incense still, and the fragrance of the flowers was 
not affected by the different condition of those who follow- 
ed in the conqueror's train. Even so, the gospel is the 
gospel still, whether men will hear, or whether they will 
forbear; it is a sweet savor of Christ, whether unto life 
or unto death, and although in " the day of Jesus Christ," 
when as a mighty conqueror, he shall ride in triumphal 
procession through the world, some will follow his chariot, 
condemned to die, still does the gospel remain the exhi- 
bition of the grace of God. " He that believeth on the 
Son, hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son, 
shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." 
(John iii : 36.) The dominion, therefore, referred to in our 
text, is a spiritual dominion, and a holy King is contem- 
plated, extending that dominion over an empire of holy sub- 
jects. But alas! how many will realize the condemnation 
of having loved darkness rather than light! To them had 
been extended the overtures of peace, but they loved their 
rebellion more: to them had been tendered the offer of par- 
don, but they valued not the forgiveness of him whom they 
did not love; and delighting in the corruption of a wicked 
world, or yielding to the impulses of a proud and unbeliev- 
ing heart, they are denied the privilege of unking in the joy- 
ful acclamations of those who witness, with delight, the 
closing triumph of the King of kings. 

In order, however, that the instrumentality to which we 
refer shall prove effectual, it must act upon those who are to 
be subdued. The gospel of Christ is the power of God, 
unto salvation to all them that believe. But how shall they 
believe in him of whom they have not heard? In view, 
probably, of this important end, did the Saviour utter that 
memorable declaration, "Now is the judgment of this world, 
now is the piince of this world cast out, and I, if I be lifted 
up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." These 
glad tidings, then, must be proclaimed, and the joyful sound 
wafted upon every breeze, until, having traversed every 
ocean, and ascended every mountain, and penetrated every 
dark corner of the earth, it shall rouse the slumbering nations 
to a consciousness of error and moral darkness, and commu- 
22 



156 The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



nicate the cheering intelligence of life and immortality 
brought to light. It will be profitable and interesting to con- 
sider the means of God's appointment, with regard to the 
result, and we notice: — 

I. The preaching of the gospel. And this gospel of this 
kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to 
the nations, and then shall the end come. — (Math,xxiv: 
14.) The prophet, Daniel, contemplating this end, and de- 
siring, though in vain, to comprehend the mystery, respect- 
ing which he was instructed to write, is informed that many 
shall run to and fro, and knowledge shnll be increased. In 
the commission given to the first apostles, and continued to 
each succeeding generation, we find this promise fulfilled. 
Beginning at Jerusalem, repentance and remission of sins 
must be preached in his name, who is exalted a Prince and 
a Saviour, and, therefore, the command is given, go ye 
into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 
This is the appointment of God, and in this is manifest the 
wisdom of God. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the 
world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the fool- 
ishness of preaching, to save them that believe. — (1 Cor. i : 
12.) Hence, the divine institution of the gospel ministry. 
In the figurative language of scripture, the Son of Man must 
be lifted up, even as the brazen serpent was elevated in the 
midst of the camp of Israel. This, in a pre eminent sense, 
is the preacher's office. He is God's honored instrument, to 
publish the glad tidings of salvation, and, accordingly, he 
must proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; he must lift 
his voice so that all the world shall hear, peace on earth and 
good will to man, and catching the Spirit of the great u fore- 
runner" in this enterprise of heavenly benevolence, and 
echoing the voice of u one crying in the wilderness" he 
must say to a world of sinners, " Behold the Lamb of God." 
And notwithstanding the conceited and aspiring Jew may 
stumble, and the wise and polished Greek may deride — 
though the sensual and evil hearted infidel may scoff, and 
the malignant Spirit of and- Christ may oppose, yet will the 
retributions of eternity testify to the wisdom and goodness of 
God, and the developments of the judgment day reveal the 
inspiration of the prophet when he declared, "How beauti- 
ful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth 
good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



157 



tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto 
Zion, thy God reigneth." — (Is. lii: 7.) 

2. While the preaching of the woid, however, may be re- 
garded as the principal agency in communicating gospel in- 
telligence, and as the only agency, indeed, which can be 
regarded as of divine and special appointment, yet there are 
subordinate agencies, which, in a most signal manner, have 
received the divine sanction, and which, no doubt, have 
been suggested by the promptings of the Divine Spirit. And 
in the imposing, the commanding train of auxiliary instru- 
mentality, we hail, first in order, and first in importance, the 
noble institution for the universal distribution of the word of 
God. What an auxiliary is this! The Bible translated 
into every language, a copy of the sacred oracles deposited 
in every house, and the saving truths which they contain 
brought within the reach of every heart. How sensibly did 
the devoted, untiring Judson feel the need of such a help, 
when, month after month, he toiled and labored, that he 
might give a Burman Bible to the Burman empire; and 
how did he appreciate the help which had been secured, 
when, in the retirement of his study, which had witnessed 
his prayer of faith, and labor of love, he gave thanks to 
God, upon his knees, that the important work was done, and 
that hundreds of immortal beings, deluded, degraded and 
ignorant, groping in the darkness of moral night, might have 
shining upon them the light of eternal truth, and be guided 
in safety to the land of promise and of peace. In the suc- 
cessful progress of this noble enterprise, the miserable victim 
of pagan idolatry will read; and will learn to worship the 
one living and true God; and no longer seeking the anni- 
hilation of his being, will aspire after the joy that is un- 
speakable and full of glory, the crown of glory, and honor, 
and immortality. 

In intimate connection with this grand scheme for the 
dissemination of gospel truth, we find kindred institutions 
exerting their influence, and lending a helping hand to the 
effectual accomplishment of the end proposed. From the 
press, devoted to the ultimate success of divine truth, publi- 
cations of various kinds are continually issued, and tracts and 
newspapers, taking the wingsof the wind, will fly from country 
to country, and exert no inconsiderable agency in ''turning 
the hearts of the disobedient, to the wisdom of thejust ? and 



158 The Universal Dominion of Christ. 

making ready a people prepared for the Lord." These 
secondary instrumentalities, all co-operating with the prime 
agency of God's appointment, may be regarded as the means 
by which the nations of earth shall be subdued, and the 
reign of the Prince of peace shall be established. They 
make no public display of the power necessary to overcome, 
and yet they carry with them the elements of universal con- 
quest; and, as the priests, by the direction of Joshua, com- 
passed the city of Jericho with the sound of the trumpets, 
so will they, at last, compass the entire earth, by the direc- 
tion of the Holy Spirit, with the sound of the everlasting 
gospel; and as the walls of the city fell, when the long blast 
of the trumpets was heard, so, when the gospel trumpet shall 
wind its note of universal proclamation, the kingdom of 
satan shall be demolished, and the kingdoms of the world 
become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ. 

" Awake, all-conquering arm, awake, 
And satan's mighty empire shake ; 
Assert the honors of thy throne, 
And make this ruined world thy won." 

II. We proceed to notice, in the next place, some of the 
evidences that the result spoken of, is in progress. 

Events which indicate the approach of the " latter day 
glory," are regarded as proceeding from different causes, and 
tending to different results, according as the mind of man is 
variously affected. In their contemplation, that construction 
will be contended for which corresponds with the peculiar 
opinion which may be entertained. There are those who 
do not recognize the hand of God in the occurrences which 
mark the history of respective nations. Political revolutions, 
the changes of power, the "rise and fall" of kingdoms and 
empires, the important discoveries, and useful inventions of 
different ages, are all considered with reference to their bear- 
ing upon personal benefit and national prosperity. The 
truth in regard to such, admits of ready solution. Their 
vision is bounded by time, and their calculations reach not 
beyond the limit of the present world. Interest, enjoyment, 
hope, are all measured by the continuance of mortal life. 
Death is the awful calamity which they deprecate, because, 
in the hour of dissolution, interest must be abandoned, en- 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



159 



joyment must cease, expectation can no longer be indulged, 
and desire fails. At times, the immortal Spiiit within, impa- 
tient of the confinement, and rebelling against the circum- 
scribed limit which human policy has thrown around it, 
would look beyond the narrow confine, and range abroad in 
search of other interests, and higher and more extended en- 
joyments; but the effort is weak, the entanglements of sense 
have crippled its energies, and the noble impulse is arrested 
by those unhallowed influences which maintain their almost 
undisputed control. Not so with those who reflect the light 
of eternal truth. To them, the world assumes its proper 
dimensions, the little space of three score years and ten, con- 
stitutes but a passing moment in the eternity of their exis- 
tence, and the important events of time, but make up a train 
of providences, which tend, one by one, in the succession of 
their occurrence, to complete the triumph of that day, when 
the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our 
God and of his Christ. 

Among other facts which afford evidence that this great 
event is approaching, we may notice: — 

1. The persecutions of the people of God. In giving per- 
secution a prominent place as connected with the ultimate 
prevalence of divine truth, it is not intended to hide any por- 
tion of its deformity, or to offer any plea in extenuation of 
its horrible guilt. Its spirit is at variance with the Spirit of 
God, and, abstractly considered, is destructive to his cause. 
It has had an existence coeval with sin, and had no incon- 
siderable agency in disturbing the peace of Eden, and caus- 
ing the blood of righteous Abel to cry for vengeance upon 
his guilty brother. Its origin can be traced only to " the 
Prince of the power of the air," and its relationship is inti- 
mate with that spirit which has always worked in the hearts 
of the children of disobedience. That God would recog- 
nize such instrumentality in effecting his purposes, cannot be 
urged, cannot be believed. But there is an overruling pro- 
vidence, and Almighty power and infinite wisdom unite in 
defeating the adversary of his cause, with the very weapon 
formed to arrest it in its onward and prosperous career. 
"The wrath of man shall praise him," the opposition of his 
enemies shall advance the glory of his name, and the very 
means devised for the overthrow of his kingdom, shall be- 
come instrumental in extending his dominion over all the 



1 60 The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



earth. To admit more than this, would be to charge Jeho- 
vah himself with the tremendous guilt of those who made 
themselves drunk with the blood of the saints. But the 
great object of the "Most High God," is the dissemination 
of truth, because by the power of truth his reign shall be es- 
tablished ; and the great object of the "father of lies" is to pre- 
vent its circulation ; and while the appointment of God to effect 
this object, is the preaching of the word, the plan of the enemy 
is to frustrate the end, by persecuting his people. Hence we 
hear of fiery furnaces and lions' dens — of the refinement of 
malignant wrath and heartless cruelty in the various depart- 
ments of the inquisition; of stripes, imprisonment and death;, 
all resorted to, that the purposes of grace and mercy may be 
defeated, but all directed and controied in securing their ac- 
complishment ; for while thousands have escaped to publish 
in different lands, the truth for which they suffered, thousands 
have sealed their testimony with their blood, and, with their 
dying breath, have preached in tones that will yet be heard 
to the ends of the earth. Thus, in the early state of the 
church, when persecuted in one city, the disciples, by the 
command of Christ, fled to another, leaving behind them, 
and carrying with them, the mighty influence which quietly, 
but effectually, presses onward to its final conquest. 

The history of the persecution of christians by the Jews, 
is the history of their own persecution by the heathen, and 
by those of their own name, with unimportant modifications. 
For the space of three hundred years the very spirit of ex- 
tirmination seemed to rage with accumulating violence, and 
from Nero to Diocletian, each succeeding emperor, either in 
person, or by his representative, seemed to emulate the vin- 
dictive fury of his predecessor in committing havoc among 
the people of God. From the days of Constantino to the 
reformation, the bloody scene is but little changed, and when 
Martin Luther comes forth to oppose the errors of the church 
of Rome, and the memorable council of Trent is called, 
almost the entire continent of Europe unites, to drive the 
heretic from the earth, and to maintain the vile misrule, the 
corrupt perversion, and the bloody intolerance of the Roman 
Pontiff. Yet Luther lived in spite of Popes and Emperors; 
the church survived, and the truth, though hindered, main- 
tained its onward course; while the civilized world, gradu- 
ally recognizing the liberty of conscience, and extending to 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



161 



every man the right to worship God, as conscience, enlight- 
ened by the truth, shall dictate, will at last render powerless, 
this, hitherto, mighty engine of the "wicked one" "When 
the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord 
shall lift up a standard against him." The tempest raged, 
and the waters towered above the loftiest mountains, but the 
ark of the Lord rode in safety on the bosom of the surging 
waves — the storm ceased, and the deluge passed away, and 
the ark of the Lord rested in safety on the top of Ararat. 

2. The missionary enterprise affords commanding evidence. 
During the last half century, the bannei of the cross has 
been unfurled in more than one idolatrous nation, and the 
doctrines of the cross have proved the power of God, unto 
salvation, to more than one benighted pagan. To the Ame- 
rican Indian, and the African, to the Hottentot, the Green- 
lander and the South-sea Islander, to the Hindoo, the Bur- 
man and the Chinaman, the herald of the gospel is heard to 
proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and paganism is 
yielding to the influence of divine truth. In many of the 
dark places of the earth, filled as they are with the habita- 
tions of cruelty, God is " having respect to the covenant," and 
the humble disciples of his Son are spending a life of toil and 
hardship that the word of life and salvation may be heard, 
where, hitherto, the people have "dwelt in the land of the 
shadow of death." Where the highest hope, entertained by 
the miserable idolater, was the annihilation of his being, the 
hope of the resurrection has been set before him, and the 
way-worn pilgrim, now turns away from the car of Jugger- 
naut, to prostrate himself before a sin-forgiving God. Sinc« 
the commencement of the Serampore mission in 1790 to the 
present time, such men as Carey and Judson of our own 
denomination, and kindred spirits of other denominations 
have been found, braving every danger, encountering every 
difficulty, "enduring every hardship" and submitting to 
every privation, that immortal beings, benighted, deluded, 
degraded, bound for a world of darkness and despair, might 
know the God of Israel, and through the enlightening and 
elevating influence of the cross of Jesus, u might hear of 
heaven and learn the way ; " and as the sure result, altar3 
have been demolished, and temples forsaken, and oppressive 
and unprofitable ceremonies abandoned, while the rescued 
victims of a degrading superstition, listen to the glad sound 



162 The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



of life and salvation through a Saviour's blood, and receiv- 
ing the "hope that maketh not ashamed," rejoice in pros- 
pect of peace with God beyond the grave. 

The missionary cause! truly, it is the cause of God. It 
involves the prime instrumentality of God's own appoint- 
ment, and recognizes each subordinate agency ; and looking 
out upon the world as the field of its opeiations, and cherish- 
ing the Samaritan spirit for every son and daughter of a de- 
generate race; — bearing upon its chart the impress of the 
divine sanction, and regarding as its paramount purpose the 
advancement of the divine glory ; it contemplates, as identi- 
fied with its own success, the announcement that " the king- 
doms of the world are become the kingdoms of our God and 
of his Christ." But is it so? Is the cause of missions in- 
deed the cause of God? Is there, in the operations of its 
various departments, considered with respect to their design 
and tendency, evidence to be found that the result spoken of 
in our text is in progress? Let the objecting enquirer cast 
his eye over this assembly, and tell me what means this con- 
gregation of strangers here. These are no political aspirants 
after office : here are no men of capital, met together to con- 
sider some promising speculation, or to plan out some pecu- 
niary enterprise, or to make some profitable investment of 
funds. These are men of prayer, professedly, the people of 
God, and this is, emphatically, a Convention of missionaries. 
But, it may be asked, convened for what purpose? The 
answer is at hand. They meet for prayer, and from the 
closet, the family altar, the session room, and the sacred tem- 
ple of the living God, there goes up to the throne of heaven, 
during the progress of its business, the petition of a> hundred 
hearts, "thy kingdom come — while the divine injunction, 
"pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send labor- 
ers into his harvest," is recognized as the paramount obliga- 
tion of those who thus meet together as the servants of God. 
Theirs, however, is the prayer of faith, and, like the apostle 
James, while others shew their faith without their works, 
they would shew theirs by their works. Hence, after invok- 
ing the divine blessing, and seeking the divine direction, they 
proceed to deliberation and corresponding action. Plans are 
submitted and adopted as, in their judgment, will tend most 
directly and effectually to secure the end proposed. Appro- 
priations are made, the word of life is circulated, and the 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



163 



heralds of peace are sent forth, that the light of truth may 
shine upon them who walk in darkness; that the knowledge 
of God may be increased, and that the "Son of Man" lifted 
up in all the attractive, soul-subduing power of the cioss, 
" might draw all men unto him." We give of our substance, 
but we give to the Lord; we unite in supplication, but we 
pray unto the Lord ; we circulate truth, but it is the truth of 
the Lord; and we send forth the messengers of salvation, 
but we send them forth in the name of the Lord. May we 
not, then, consistently regard our cause as the cause of God, 
and, in that day when the note of victory shall be sounded, 
may we not exult in the spirit of those who have shared in 
the glorious conflict? Yes, beloved brethren, in the fear of 
that God whom we serve, we may say, such is our business 
here, such the character of the work in which we are en- 
gaged; and, when in the order of Divine Providence, the 
arch-angel shall proclaim universal dominion in the name of 
our God and of his Christ, then, and not till then, will it be 
known, to what extent we have been instrumental in bring- 
ing to pass the great and glorious event. 

3. Another encouraging evidence may be found in the 
ingenuity and enterprise of man, as exercised with reference 
to commercial intercourse. The facilities of transportation, 
by the overruling providence of God, are made tributary to 
the advancement of his cause, and there is no extravagance 
in the belief, exultingly entertained, that the progress of 
truth henceforth, will be most decidedly accelerated. Na- 
tions, heretofore the very antipodes of each other, are brought 
into comparative proximity, and the intervention of moun- 
tains and deserts and oceans is disregarded, in view of the 
conquering power of steam. Important intelligence flies 
upon the wings of the wind, and events affecting the com- 
mercial relations of respective nations, are communicated 
with a dispatch only surpassed by the flight of thought, or 
by the lightning's flash. But, as the various ends of secular 
interests are thus promoted, so is the cause of the Redeemer's 
kingdom promoted. Gospel news is conveyed as all other 
news is conveyed; the car, the steamboat, and the magnetic 
wire, are alike available to the votaries of pleasure, the wor- 
shipers of mammon, and the friends of Christ; and upon 
the deck of the same ship that spreads her canvass to the 
breeze, in search of some distant, foreign port, stand, side by 



164 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 



side, the man of business and the man of God. In connec- 
tion with, and in confirmation too, of this fact, it is worthy 
of remark, that in those countries where the spirit of enter- 
prise and ingenuity has been most extensively cherished, and 
most obviously developed, there, also, has the spirit of chris- 
tian benevolence been most decidedly awakened and ac- 
knowledged. In the United States and in Great Britain, 
more than elsewhere, the spirit of internal improvement pre- 
vails. Railroads, canals, and telegraphic offices, aie soon to 
effect one continuous chain of communication throughout 
these respective countries; and from them, as from common 
centres, the "gospel of the kingdom" will radiate its beams 
of heavenly light; and, as the claims of the Lord Jesus 
upon his followers are more fully recognized, and more sensi- 
bly felt, and all these advantages are brought to bear upon 
the cause of truth, the language of the prophet will become 
mote intelligible, as contemplating the end from the begin- 
ning, it is announced, (Zech. ix: 10,) "And I will cut off 
the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, 
and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace 
unto the heathen : and his dominion shall be from sea even 
to sea, and from the river, even to the ends of the earth." 
"The Lord hath made bate his holy arm in the eyes of all 
the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the sal- 
vation of our God." — (Isa. lii: 10.) 

Other evidences might be urged, and one of no ordinary 
interest and importance, is to be found in the effect of Chris- 
tianity upon intellectual and moral being. Under its benign- 
ant influence, moral excellence is promoted, and mental 
power is developed; the arts are encouraged, and science is 
fostered; in short, all that tends to elevate man in the scale 
of being, is not only induced, but encouraged and sustained, 
and thus commending itself to the favor of the wise and re- 
flecting of every land, it will sooner or later secure an intro- 
duction, and have afforded an opportunity for the more im- 
portant exercise of its sanctifying and saving power. But 
circumstances will not justify more time being occupied on 
the present occasion, and the subject will be dismissed with 
two reflections. 

1. We walk by faith, not by sight, said Paul to the church 
at Corinth, and to the Hebrew brethren he declared that faith 
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things 
not seen. All true faith rests upon truth. It is founded 



The Universal Dominion of Christ. 165 



upon evidence, and that evidence is the word of God, and 
hence it is properly called the belief of the truth. Man, 
awakened to a sense of sin, its rebellion, its corruption and 
its danger, hears that Christ is able to save. That which he 
hears is truth, and embracing the hope thus set before him, 
he, like the apostle can exclaim, " Whom, having not seen we 
love, in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, 
we rejoice, with joy unspeakable and full of glory." As it 
is in man's individual deliverance, so is it in all that relates 
to the revival, prosperity and ultimate triumph of the church. 
Faith is the secret,— faith in God. Thus Noah believed, 
and amid the wreck and desolation of an unbelieving world 
he looked forth from the aik to witness the faithfulness of 
Him in whom he trusted. Joshua believed, and the crumb- 
ling of the walls of Jericho testified to the power of faith in 
Israel's God. Caleb believed, and despising the report of 
walled cities, and the sons of Anak, he stilled the people be- 
fore Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and possess the 
land, for we are well able to overcome it." Carey believed, 
and Fuller and Pearce; Judson believed, and the little band 
that have labored, and that yet labor with him in a far dis- 
tant, heathen land. As with them, so with all who are now 
engaged, whether at home or abroad, in the service of the 
Lord. Nothing but faith can induce a willingness to under- 
take the work, and nothing but faith can encourage and sus- 
tain amid its hardships and difficulties. Yet faith is suffi- 
cient, and the " wilderness and the solitary place shall be 
glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as 
the rose." 

2. The triumph of the Son of God will be the triumph 
of his friends, but the overthrow of his enemies. There are 
those who will be subdued to the obedience of faith, and 
submitting to the dominion of his grace and following in the 
train of the Mighty Conqueror, shall help to swell the anthem 
of praise that shall hail him the acknowledged Sovereign of 
universal empire. But there are those who despise the riches 
of his grace, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteous- 
ness. These also will follow in that train, but the warrant 
of death is signed against them. In the language of the 
prophet Isaiah, it is fury to his adversaries, recompense to his 
enemies. "But those mine enemies, which would not that 
I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before 
me, for many that sleep in the earth, shall awake, some to 



166 Impediments to the Progress of the Gospel. 



everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 
Whoso are wise, and will observe these things, even they shall 
understand the loving kindness of the Lord." 



IMPEDIMENTS TO THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL. 
The figurative language employed by the sacred writers, 
may have affected the minds of many, not excepting those 
who are accustomed to discriminate, in the manner now de- 
scribed. We pray in the language of the bible that the 
"sun of righteousness" may arise upon the benighted na- 
tions, till imagination deceives us with the illusion that the 
daikness and depravity of the human soul is to be dissipated 
by some supernatural illumination, and in a manner as inde- 
pendent of human aid, as that by which the darkness of 
night is dispersed by the light of day. We pray that the 
"windows of heaven" may be opened, and an abundant 
blessing poured out, charmed with the beauty of an image 
which represents Omnipotence as raining righteousness down 
from heaven like showers that water the earth. We read of 
the "arm of the oppressor being broken," and the "prison 
doors" which are to be thrown open, and we wait for some 
almighty power to palsy the one, and some miraculous 
agency like that which liberated the apostles, to accomplish 
the other. It is our daily prayer that the knowledge of God 
and the gospel of his Son may speedily be communicated to 
the whole human family, and while the petition is yet warm 
upon our lips, imagination pictures some white-robed seraph, 
flying through heaven, bearing the everlasting gospel ; as if 
this inspirating representation of the prophet were to be con- 
strued into an acquittal of all human instrumentality. Thus 
it has come to pass that we have lost sight of ihe little means 
and processes by which the purposes of God are to be accom- 
plished amid the splendors of the prophetic vision. Thus we 
dwell more on the ultimate results we expect — the glory of 
the church, than upon the "foolishness of means" by which 
they are to be secured. We pray more that God would send 
out his light and truth, than that he would send us to pro- 
claim that truth with our own living voices. We pray more 
that the gospel may be circulated through all tribes and lan- 
guages of men, than that we may be employed in the work 
of translating, printing, and despatching them with our own 
hands. — Christian Spectator. 



THE 

BAPTIST PKEACHER. 



New Series, October, 1847. No, 10, 



THE FAITHFUL MINISTER'S COURSE — ITS 
MEANS AND END. 

A sermon delivered at the ordination of brethren F. M. Barker and Wm. 
Jeter, at Suck Spring, Bedford county, Va., August 2, 1846 ; by Rev. 
James C. Clopton, of Lynchburg, published at the request of the Pres- 
bytery. 

" Study to shoic thyself approved unto God." — 2 Tim. ii : 15. 

It is a truth admitted by all believers in Revelation, that 
the vocation of the gospel minister is the highest on earth. 
If this be so, then whatever pertains to this calling is of the 
greatest importance. Paul has magnified this office to such 
a degree, both in his letters and his personal sacrifices, that 
those who are the worthiest to follow him, often feel that 
they have run before they were called ; and there is no doubt 
that many, from a want of consideration, or from vanity, or 
from some sordid motive, thrust themselves upon the churches 
and are sent forth to perform a work for which they are en- 
tirely unqualified. I am more and more settled in the opin- 
ion that churches ought to be exceedingly cautious in putting 
into the ministry those who seek this office. If there be a 
post on earth, that should be filled with diffidence, and fear, 
and trembling, it is that of an ambassador for Christ. A 
laborer in the vineyard of the Lord, should be a man of more 
than ordinary qualifications. Better in doing the work of 
the Lord to have one Aaron, who is called of God, than a 
thousand others, who take (his honor unto themselves. — 
Heb. v: 4. Gideon, in waring against the Midianites, was 
commanded by the Almighty to tell all that were fearful and 
afraid, to return. Twen